- Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change
- Nurses' Unions, Climate Change and Health: A Global Agenda for Action
Nurses' Unions, Climate Change and Health: A Global Agenda for Action
The planet is warming and the climate is changing. With increasing regularity, headlines report record- breaking heat waves, catastrophic storms, floods and fires, and rising numbers of people displaced due to famines, droughts and violence. The world seems to be rapidly becoming a more dangerous and more frightening place. These changes have profound significance for human health. Indeed, the health impacts of global warming and climate change are already being felt by vast numbers of people around the world. At the same time, although certain health risks may actually diminish with increased warming for some people—for instance, risk from exposure to cold in some regions—health risks overall are set to increase significantly. In the medium term, this is especially true for risks related to exposure to floods, droughts and extreme heat; food security issues; and infectious diseases. Longer-term, health risks associated with displacement and conflict are likely to become much more serious. This paper aims to provide information to nurses and their unions regarding climate-related health risks. It summarizes what is happening now, and what health-related climate science suggests could happen if current trends continue. Nurses and their unions have been at the forefront of many key struggles to minimize the negative health impacts of current and rising fossil fuel use, and for strong policy responses to the unfolding climate crisis. But it is today clear that addressing climate change will require a radical change at the level of politics and policy. The current policies—which are directed towards ensuring investment opportuniAes for big business—have been a massive failure. Emissions continue to rise, and health outcomes and indicators continue to worsen.