Lake Simcoe Sessions Podcast
Episode 5: Changing Communities
How does climate change impact human health and well-being? How is climate change posing new health risks today and into the future? Special guests Asim Qasim and Sonia Sanita from York Region Public Health join host Katie Biddie to talk about how climate change and human health are linked and how local greenspaces can be used to enhance overall wellness and wellbeing. They’ll talk about the cascading effects of climate change, the importance of healthy built environments, and how vulnerability assessments are being used to better understand the health impacts of climate change.
Special Guest Bios
Sonia Sanita holds a Bachelor of Education, Masters of Environmental Studies, is an Ontario Certified Teacher, and is the Healthy Built Environment Specialist with York Region Public Health. She is currently implementing the York Region Built Environment and Health Action Plan and collaborates in the planning of built environments that promote and protect the health of York Region visitors and residents. Sonia is not only a Public Health Practitioner and Educator, she is also a mother of two and is a passionate advocate for active travel.
Asim Ali Qasim is the Acting Manager of the Healthy Environments team at York Region Public Health. The Healthy Environments team looks at air quality, extreme heat, and climate change. In an effort to help them better understand what the health impacts of climate change will be in the future in York Region, Asim and the Health Environments Team have conducted a Climate Change and Health Vulnerability Assessment.
Key take-aways for this episode:
- There are some new health risks posed by climate change. More extreme heat events lead to more cases of heat stroke and heat illnesses. We are expecting to see more frequent air advisory days. Ticks which can carry Lyme disease are becoming more widespread.
- Climate Change does not impact everyone equally. People have unique vulnerabilities based on their individual lived experiences that need to be considered during climate conversations.
- Greenspaces can significantly benefit our physical and mental health, and the physical and social development of children. We need to keep our environment healthy to stay healthy ourselves.
What can you do?
- Spend some time outdoors and in nature. Reflect upon how you feel before going outside and after. Do you notice any improvements in your mood, energy levels or focus?
- Give Forest Bathing a try. For more information about the practice of forest bathing, read M. Amos Clifford’s simple yet inspiring book on the subject, “Your Guide to Forest Bathing”
- Make friends with winter – don’t let the weather stop you from getting outside.
- Learn more about the Healthy Built Environment
- Sign up and participate in a Conservation Day Program.
Meet Our Host
Host Katie Biddie has spent nearly a decade working in environmental education, nature interpretation and community engagement, and is a proud Lake Simcoe watershed resident.
As a child she aspired to be the next “Dr. Jane Goodall”, investigating wildlife all around the world. Katie has visited 24 different countries, is a graduate from the University of Guelph (HBSc.) with a major in Zoology, a graduate of Lakehead University (BEd.) specializing in Outdoor and Environmental Education, and is currently a York University Masters candidate in Community Engagement and Leadership.