Climate change is a long-term shift away from normal weather and climate patterns. There are ways to slow the change.
Climate change is measured by warmer average temperatures and increased extreme weather, such as floods, wind storms and heat waves.
What is climate change?
Climate change, often called ‘global warming,’ is a long-term shift away from normal weather patterns and climate. Climate change is measured by warmer average temperatures and increased incidence of extreme weather, such as floods, wind storms and heat waves. Rising sea levels, warming oceans, shrinking glaciers and ocean acidification are also impacts of climate change.
What causes climate change?
The earth is warm enough to support life because of the heat from the sun. The gases that form the atmosphere around the earth trap some of that heat, keeping the earth warm. Climate change is primarily caused by the build-up of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The build-up of greenhouse gases essentially forms a blanket around the earth, trapping the sun’s heat and causing climate change. Human activities are one of the major sources of greenhouse gases that have caused climate change.
Human activities causing climate change:
- using gas-powered cars
- burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) for heating, manufacturing and electricity
- ranching, farming
- clearing forests
Did you know? Much of the global temperature rise has occurred since the 1970s, and the 10 warmest years ever recorded have occurred within the last 12 years.
How will climate change affect me?
Locally, it is expected that the temperatures in Sudbury will peak at 4 to 5 degrees Celsius warmer within the next 100 years. With a shift toward warmer temperatures, we expect to see increased heat-related illnesses, poor air quality, more frequent and severe weather events and the movement northward of vector-borne diseases like West Nile and lyme disease. With warm weather, blue-green algae can become more common in local water bodies, increasing risk of exposure to potentially toxic species.
The impacts of climate change don’t affect everyone equally. Your vulnerability depends on factors such as age, local environmental conditions, socio-economic status, health status and availability of health services. The most vulnerable populations are the elderly and those with economic, mental or physical challenges. While we can’t stop climate change, adaptive and mitigative measures can be put in place to reduce risks.
What can I do to slow climate change?
We should try to reduce greenhouse gases by taking the bus and driving less. Planning numerous activities or errands around one trip will also reduce energy needs. Active transportation like walking and biking is not only good for your health, but good for the environment, too!
Reduce your household energy use with low energy appliances and light bulbs. Consider getting involved in planting trees and urban agriculture such as community gardens (City of Greater Sudbury). Emergency preparedness at home and checking in on vulnerable people in your neighbourhood in case of floods, storms, or wind events are also things to consider. Use your understanding of the causes of climate change and its effects to advocate for healthy environmental policies and initiatives in your community and beyond.
How is Public Health Sudbury & Districts involved?
- advocacy for consideration of impacts of climate change and environmental sustainability in local and provincial policies and development plans
- partner in the Greater Sudbury Climate Change Consortium
- educational activities in the Sudbury Children’s Water Festival
- local surveillance of vector-borne diseases (Lyme disease and West Nile)
Other useful information
Climate change and public health fact sheet (Public Health Agency of Canada)
Understanding the health effects of climate change (Health Canada)
Carbon footprint calculator (Carbon Footprint)
Keen to be green, your resource for green living in the Greater Sudbury Area
This item was last modified on August 16, 2019