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Climate change and health

In British Columbia and around the world, average temperatures are increasing, variable and extreme weather is becoming more frequent, and sea levels are rising. These hazards affect health and wellbeing in our communities as well as our facilities, and can impact our ability to deliver health care services.


Mitigation: Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions

Organizations around the world must take urgent steps to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions in order to minimize changes to our global climate system. The less our global climate warms, the fewer the impacts to our health and our day-to-day lives.

VCH's Energy and Environmental Sustainability team (EES) works with a range of departments across VCH to reduce health care's environmental impact, and to help improve the health of individuals and the communities.

Learn more about what VCH is doing to work towards environmental sustainability

Adaptation: Preparing for current and future challenges

While we need to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we also need to adapt to the unavoidable and often unpredictable risks associated with a changing climate. Climate change adaptation is the process of making sure that we are ready for the current and future challenges that come with a changing climate.

What you need to know about:

Click the image to view and download the poster.

Research and Reports

HealthADAPT Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment

In 2019, Health Canada awarded funding to VCH and partners under the federal HealthADAPT program, to conduct a Climate Change and Health Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment to understand risks to population health, facilities, and the health system, and also existing levels of preparedness.

Read the Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment summary report

Read the Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment report

Following the Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment process, we undertook a collaborative process with community partners to create a Climate Change and Health Adaptation Framework. This framework includes specific recommendations to build community and health system resiliency organized across six pillars:

  1. Emergency preparedness and response
  2. Risk assessment, epidemiology, and research
  3. Communications
  4. Leadership and advocacy
  5. Health equity
  6. Facilities
Read the climate change and health adaptation framework

Community Health and Climate Change maps

Working in partnership with researchers from UBC, Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health created a series of maps that represent the vulnerability of communities within our health regions to four climate hazards: heat, smoke, ozone, and flooding. These maps are meant to advance our collective understanding of what makes individuals and communities vulnerable to climate change.

Read the community health and climate change map to access project's findings are available to the public. 

The annual Lancet Countdown on health and climate change emphasizes that "Climate change is the greatest global health threat facing the world in the 21st century, but it is also the greatest opportunity to redefine the social and environmental determinants of health."

At VCH, we are committed to mitigation and adaptation approaches that reduce carbon emissions and prepare the population for future climate risks, while also reducing inequity and promoting the health of all communities. 

Click the image to view and download the infographic. 

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