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Conservation Council’s new report sparks conversation about climate change as a public health issue in New Brunswick

FREDERICTON — The Conservation Council of New Brunswick today releases a new report on climate change and its physical and mental health effects in New Brunswick.

The report, Healthy Climate, Healthy New Brunswickers, prepared by Dr. Louise Comeau, Director of the Conservation Council’s Climate Change and Energy Solutions Program, starts a conversation in New Brunswick about climate change as a public health issue.

The report summarizes existing research in a unique way to tell a story about how climate change can affect our physical and mental health. Dr. Comeau’s analysis reveals how climate change effects could exacerbate existing health service issues in 16 New Brunswick communities and could undermine provincial strategies to improve well-being. 

Read the report here. 

Quotes

The good news here is that climate change solutions can have real health benefits for New Brunswickers. Smart policies to fight climate change can keep our air and water clean, they help us be more active and connect to nature which can reduce anxiety, they can keep seniors safer through better outreach in our communities before, during and after extreme weather events. We need to bring health and wellbeing practitioners to the table as we move to solve climate change, and this report is the start of that conversation in New Brunswick.” — Dr. Louise Comeau, Consultant to the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Research Associate with the University of New Brunswick.

“Our report leaves no doubt that climate change, floods and ice storms are more than environmental and economic problems — there are serious public health consequences here. With the scientific evidence telling us to expect more harsh and intense storms and weather, we need to do everything we can to slow climate change and prepare our communities for the increasingly severe health effects that will hit our most vulnerable, particularly our seniors and the very young, the hardest.” — Lois Corbett, Executive Director, Conservation Council of New Brunswick

“From extreme heat causing an increase in premature deaths and hospital admissions for seniors and young children, to severe ice storms and flooding events increasing the chances of drinking water contamination, food contamination, and tragedies like carbon monoxide poisoning experienced in the 2017 Ice Storm, climate change is already have profound effects on our physical and mental health in New Brunswick and across Canada.” Kim Perrotta, Executive Director, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE).

“Extreme weather events made more intense by climate change have lasting effects on residents and the first responders who come to help. These mental health effects take many forms — from post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, complicated grief, survivor guilt, substance misuse, even suicide. As these climate change-fueled events get more frequent, governments must prepare and ensure that the necessary mental health supports are in place, both in the immediate aftermath and in the years that follow.”   Katie Hayes, PhD candidate at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and a leading researcher on the mental health effects of climate change.

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For more information or assistance arranging interviews, contact:

Jon MacNeill, Communications Director, Conservation Council of New Brunswick: 506-238-3539 (mobile) 506-458-8747 (office) jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca

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