Climate change challenges human well-being directly and indirectly by affecting physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as collective community health.

Many people across the Prairies will see milder winters, which are increasing due to climate change, as a welcome benefit. But warmer winters and hotter summers bring health implications such as the increased spread of insect-borne Lyme disease and West Nile virus, respiratory stress aggravated by wildfire smoke in the air, and deadly heat stroke. As well, climate change also can put stress on mental and emotional health and well-being.

Vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, Indigenous Peoples, the poor, the homeless, and people with chronic health conditions will likely feel climate impacts the most acutely, and no population segment will be entirely immune. There is a significant role for prevention, services, and the built environment that knit together public health, community planning and disaster preparedness.

The Prairie Climate Centre (PCC), one of ClimateWest’s partners, has experience helping public health practitioners use climate data in their planning and decision-making. ClimateWest will build on this foundation in applying a “health lens” to reduce climate risks to well-being.