New regional project focused on adapting to climate change, not just fighting it

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health and the Region of Waterloo Public Health are coming together to help local communities adapt to the impacts of climate change through a new research project.

Adaptation also needed when it comes to climate change, says official

Regional health authorities are looking to find ways to help residents be more resilient to the impacts of climate change. (Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images)

Local health agencies in Waterloo region are conducting a new research project, into how communities can adapt to the changes in our environment brought on by climate change.

The project is a three-year collaboration between Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph public health and the Region of Waterloo public health that will focus on adapting to the health and environmental impacts of climate change, as opposed to fighting the greenhouse effect itself.

"What we're looking at is more [of] adaptation" says Shawn Zentner, manager of environmental health with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph public health told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. "So even though the world is getting hotter, how can we adapt to those increasing temperatures?"

When it comes to climate change, Zentner said, the conversation is typically focused on reducing our carbon footprint and the release of greenhouse gases.

He said this effort is not looking at reducing emissions, but is more focused on addressing populations who are vulnerable to issues with heat, air quality, and other extreme weather events.

"We're looking to identify specifically for our geography, what those impacts might be," he said.

Zentner said the group plans to create a list of to-dos that individuals can act on to mitigate those impacts, and also provide tools and data that policy makers and health authorities need to better deal with the issue.