James D. Ford is with the Department of Geography, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec. Ashlee Cunsolo Willox is with the Department of Community Health, Cape Breton University, Sydney, Nova Scotia. Susan Chatwood is with the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Christopher Furgal is with the Department of Indigenous Environmental Studies, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. Sherilee Harper is with the Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Ontario. Ian Mauro is with the Department of Geography, University of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Tristan Pearce is with the University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydor, Queensland, Australia.
Climate change will have far-reaching implications for Inuit health. Focusing on adaptation offers a proactive approach for managing climate-related health risks-one that views Inuit populations as active agents in planning and responding at household, community, and regional levels. Adaptation can direct attention to the root causes of climate vulnerability and emphasize the importance of traditional knowledge regarding environmental change and adaptive strategies. An evidence base on adaptation options and processes for Inuit regions is currently lacking, however, thus constraining climate policy development. In this article, we tackled this deficit, drawing upon our understanding of the determinants of health vulnerability to climate change in Canada to propose key considerations for adaptation decision-making in an Inuit context.
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The Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research (AICBR) is a unique Northern organization that works to bring together multiple groups and sectors on issues that are identified by and relevant to their partners. Current priorities include food security and food sovereignty, healthy lifestyles, youth engagement and mental health, and climate change adaptation.
ArcticNet at the University of Laval is part of the Network of Centres of Excellence bringing together scientists and managers in the natural, human health and social sciences with their partners in Inuit organizations, northern communities, federal and provincial agencies and the private sector to study the impacts of climate change in the coastal Canadian Arctic.
ArcticNorth Consulting was established by James Ford, PhD, and Tristan Pearce, PhD, to assist communities, businesses, and industry adapt to a changing climate. Dr. Ford and Dr. Pearce are award-winning scientists with extensive experience working with communities, governments, NGOs, and First Nations groups across Canada and internationally on climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning.
For emerging public health risks such as climate change, the Canadian federal government has a mandate to provide information and resources to protect citizens' health. Research is a key component of this mandate and is essential if Canada is to moderate the health effects of a changing climate. We assessed whether federal support for climate change and health research is consistent with the risks posed. We audited projects receiving federal support between 1999 and 2009, representing an investment of Can$16 million in 105 projects. Although funding has increased in recent years, it remains inadequate, with negligible focus on vulnerable populations, limited research on adaptation, and volatility in funding allocations. A federal strategy to guide research support is overdue.
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CIER was founded in 1994 by a small group of First Nation leaders from across Canada who recognized the need for Aboriginal peoples to have the capacity to solve environmental problems affecting their lands and resources.
Adaptation will be necessary to cope with the impacts of climate change on the health of Canadians. Civil society organizations (CSOs) have an important role in health adaptation, but it is unknown what actions they are undertaking.
To identify and examine what adaptations are being developed by CSOs to adapt to the health effects of climate change based on a systematic review of the activities of 190 organizations and 1196 reported adaptation actions.
There were six key findings: (1) health adaptation actions are predominantly led by environmental CSOs; (2) most actions are occurring at national and regional levels; (3) food and/or water contamination and air quality are dominant climate change stimuli for action; (4) responses predominantly reflect awareness and research activities, with limited evidence of substantive intervention; (5) consideration of vulnerable groups is limited; and (6) climate change is usually considered alongside other factors, if at all.
The results indicate a deficit in terms of what needs to be done for health adaptation and what is being done; part of a broader adaptation deficit in Canada. Coordinated adaptation planning at federal and provincial level is needed, involving collaboration between CSOs and public health bodies.
Comment In: Public Health. 2013 May;127(5):401-223648047