Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Environment

Climate Change

Our climate is changing and these changes are affecting human health in our region. Climate change hazards, like rising temperatures and extreme weather events, affect physical and mental health and community wellbeing. While everyone is at risk to the effects of climate change, these effects will be greater for populations already experiencing health inequities based on factors like income, health status, age, and gender.

LevisonFigure2

Image source: Levison et al, 2018. Development of a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Using a Public Health Lens to Determine Local Health Vulnerabilities: An Ontario Health Unit Experience. Int J Environ Res Public Health 15(10): doi 10.3390/ijerph15102237.

Noting these climate change risks to public health, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) completed a local vulnerability assessment in 2017 to identify and understand the impacts of climate change on health in our community. As part of our ongoing efforts to support climate action in our community, this HealthSTATS section will maintain up-to-date data reporting and regular analysis to improve our understanding of the health impacts of a changing climate in Simcoe Muskoka. This analysis will provide evidence and information on:

  • current and future health risks associated with climate change;
  • emerging trends in our community; and
  • populations most at risk to climate effects.

This HealthSTATS section provides an overview of climate change vulnerability in our region. Climate change vulnerability is a function of sensitivity and susceptibility, exposure to climate variability, and the capacity to adapt (otherwise referred to as ‘adaptive capacity’).

Sensitivity and susceptibility refer to heighted risk to climate effects due to biological, social, and environmental factors. Exposure to climate variability refers to the probability of a climate-related health hazard occurring. Adaptive capacity refers to the capacity to cope and thrive in a changing climate.

The following sections contain data and information pertaining to climate change in Simcoe Muskoka.

Data and information on exposure, adaptive capacity, and the expected health impacts are presented across six climate-sensitive categories:

  • Extreme temperatures
  • Extreme weather
  • Air quality
  • Contamination and availability of food and water
  • Vector borne disease
  • Exposure to ultraviolet radiation

For more information on the current impacts, health burdens, and future projections for each climate-related category, refer to our Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. The information is also presented in an interactiveClimate Change Story Map.