Bierstone, Penslar and Lavoie: Why taking action on climate change is good for your health

By Dr. Daniel Bierstone, Dr. Josh Penslar, and Dr. Curtis Lavoie, Ottawa Citizen, August 9, 2019

Some aspects of public policy are considered so axiomatic in Canada that they generally transcend party lines.

These include public health care and education, and numerous community health promotion programs (hence the massive backlash this year against Premier Doug Ford’s proposed cuts to public health). Sadly and ironically, one of the issues that has not yet joined this list is climate action. Sad, because the impacts of a changing climate on ecosystems and communities is becoming all too apparent; ironic, because climate change poses an urgent risk to our health and the health of our children that can and should be addressed by public policy.

Several mainstream national health organizations, including the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Public Health Association and the Canadian Nurses Association have already called on all federal political parties to consider climate change “as the greatest health threat of the 21st century.” Meanwhile, the Ontario Public Health Association has launched, an online toolkit for parents on mitigating climate change’s daily impacts on children’s health.

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