The climate crisis has been identified by the scientific community as the greatest threat to human health in this century. The threats posed to our health are far-reaching, from cardiorespiratory distress caused by air pollution, an increase in vector-borne illnesses, physical displacement and food insecurity.
Effectively tackling climate change presents one of the greatest opportunities for improving health and mitigating the devastating impacts of the climate crisis on our communities and health care system.
Warming in Canada is roughly double the magnitude of warming globally. Within that context, Canada’s nurses are confronted with a colossal threat to human health here at home. Extreme weather events such as wildfires, floods and heat waves have already been occurring with higher frequency and greater severity across the country, causing serious health repercussions.
The CFNU commissioned a discussion paper on climate change and health and its relationship to Canada’s nurses, entitled Climate Change and Health: It’s Time for Nurses to Act. Shortly after the paper’s release, over 900 nurse delegates to CFNU’s biennial convention voted unanimously for CFNU and its Member Organizations to push for strong action on climate change.
Nurses can be leaders on climate action and take action to defend their communities. Within their workplaces, nurses are increasingly joining or starting environment committees called Green Teams. Learn more about the work of green teams and how you can get involved.
Nurses can also raise awareness about the health impacts of climate change in conversations with their colleagues and the broader public. As one of the most trusted professions in society, nurses’ voices have the power to effect positive change. You can get involved in this crucial work through the Nurses Climate Challenge.
Alongside labour unions, social justice and environmental organizations, we will continue to call on our governments to rapidly facilitate a just transition for all workers in high-emission sectors, bringing about a green economy with decent unionized jobs that nurture the health and well-being of our communities for generations to come.