Tag Archives: climate change

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Imagine yourself as a family physician seeing a 68-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, and chronic knee pain. While these medical concerns are well-managed, things for your patient are tough socially. She has become increasingly isolated since her husband passed. Her apartment is in an older building with good heating but no air-conditioning and near to no sidewalks, green spaces, or public transit routes in the area. She often requires friends or a cab to drive her around.

How can you assess and mitigate the acute and chronic environment-related health risks faced by this woman, and other patients like her? ...continue reading

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Trevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy

 

The ’s Great Law is said to include the principle of making decisions taking into account impacts on the  seventh generation, which means thinking 140 – 175 years ahead. That is a far cry from our modern politicians, who can barely think past the next election, never mind our businesses and stock markets that are too often focused only on the next quarter’s bottom line.

As Canada celebrates its , it seems a particularly good time to think about the next 150 years. Of course we can’t predict that far ahead; imagine how much of today’s world we could have predicted in 1867. But there is no doubt that what we do today will have impacts at least 150 years into the future, and probably much further. ...continue reading

genevieve2015-msgDr Genevieve Gabb is a Senior Staff Specialist in General Medicine at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia; she also works at the Veterans Heart Clinic, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park,  in ambulatory cardiovascular medicine.  Genevieve has an interest in drug safety, particularly in relation to medicines commonly used in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease

 

We have scientific consensus that global temperatures are rising.  Despite this, debate and argument continues about whether global warming is occurring, the extent, possible causes and potential solutions to the problem.

In early January 2013, as this debate continued to rage, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology was confronted with a dilemma. Forecast temperatures were so extreme that they exceeded the colour range available for its isotherm charts.  Isotherm charts are used to indicate temperature across the continent, and have lines that join points of equal temperature.  Different colours, starting with cool blues; increasing to yellows and a deep burnt orange are used to show areas of similar temperature.  An ominous, solid black topped the scale, indicating a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius. ...continue reading

Patrick_Kirsten_headshotCrop4 is Deputy Editor at CMAJ

 

This morning I swam at my local YMCA with Canada’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Change. and I belong to the same Masters Swim Club. I don’t see her as much as I used to….well, I see a great many photos of her on my Twitter and Facebook feeds, but I don’t see her much in the pool. She's a busy lady and last week she attended the on behalf of Canada at UN Headquarters in New York. It was Earth Day – 22 April – and (174 countries and the European Union) signed up to the agreement that day. This number of signatories far exceeded the historical record for first-day signatures to an international agreement. It was joyous occasion in which Canada could and did participate with pride. Like a wedding on a perfect spring day.

But just as a wedding is an ideal thing and marriage a real thing, and confusing the ideal with the real never goes unpunished ...continue reading

NK 2016Nicole Kain is a PhD Candidate in Public Health Sciences at the University of Alberta

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Cindy Jardine is a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta

 

Autumn 2003: claims eight lives, destroys countless buildings and residences causing power outages across the Maritimes, and is recorded as the most damaging storm in Halifax’s modern history.

June 2013: , combined with melting ice that causes rivers to overflow their banks; paralyzing communities and resulting in the loss of four lives and an estimated $6 billion in damages. Hospitals are forced to close, physicians can’t get into their offices due washed out roads - including portions of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Summer 2014: the “” sees more than 130 wildfires burning in the Northwest Territories ...continue reading

Trevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s

 

In this week of the , it is worth considering the health care system’s contribution to climate change and how it can be reduced.

Health care, not surprisingly, is a bit of an energy pig. After all, health care comprises a large part of our economy – about 11% of GDP – and with around 2 million workers, it's the third largest employment sector in Canada after retail and manufacturing. Moreover, our hospitals run 24/7, use a lot of energy-intensive equipment and maintain an even temperature no matter the temperature. That's why hospitals are among the most energy-intensive facilities in our communities. ...continue reading

Trevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s

 

Security has emerged as an important issue in the lead up to this year's federal election in Canada, but the understanding of it by the main parties is very narrow. It is focused largely on policing, criminal justice and the military.

If we look at the definition of security it is “the state of being free from danger or threat”; the dangers and threats we face globally are far greater than those posed by militant fundamentalists or even by criminals. This is not to deny the real danger and sense of threat that some of us experience from such people, nor is it to deny that some people are hurt, or tortured, even killed.

But if we step back and look at the bigger picture, the greatest universal threat to our security and that of our descendants – in Canada and globally - arises from climate change and from other global ecological changes that are underway and that we are causing. ...continue reading

is editor, News and Humanities, at CMAJ

 

Is Sea Sick a one-woman play or a live TED-esque talk? Hard to know, but harder still to care about applying labels to the medium when the message is so powerful: the ocean’s chemistry is changing with climate change. “It’s warm, breathless and sour,” says , a long-time reporter with The Globe and Mail, turned freelance. And when the ocean dies, so do we.

Mitchell’s international best-seller, (2009; McClelland & Stewart), is now hitting the stage in what is billed as a ‘one-woman nonfiction play’, but is more like an animated lecture, replete with blackboard, albeit with a few theatrical-effects. No matter. If she reaches a new audience, so much the better, and last night she reached a couple of CMAJ editors at Ottawa’s .

In a sea-shell, her extensive investigation — 3 years and 13 trips worldwide — led to one conclusion: ...continue reading

is a CMAJ Associate Editor and professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

CMAJ and other medical journals have called for medical leadership on climate change and related issues. addresses physicians responsibility as agents for change. But what happens if you do speak out? ...continue reading

Kirsten Patrick is a Deputy Editor at CMAJ, currently at the in Anchorage, Alaska

 

The 20th International Epidemiology Association World Congress being held in Anchorage, Alaska, this week is focusing on global epidemiology in a changing environment, and particularly, delegates are discussing and learning about the epidemiological effects of climate change. While much research being presented in concurrent sessions and posters is the usual mix of national and regional epidemiology (infectious diseases, nutritional diseases, cancer…), and epidemiological methods research (always interesting to a journal editor), the ‘circumpolar perspective’ is the subject of many sessions. What is happening in the world’s frozen regions as a result of climate change?

It may or may not surprise you to hear that people who live in areas that are frozen year-round aren’t high-fiving each other about the mean increase in temperature of 3°C. They aren’t throwing off their traditional fur clothing in celebration. This is because communities are being destroyed by warming in polar regions. ...continue reading