Stop ringing the alarm; it is time to get out of the building!

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Date
2020-11-02
Authors
Masuda, Jeffrey
Lewis, Diana M.
Poland, Blake
Sanchez Pimienta, Carlos Ernesto
Keyword
Climate change , Public health , Intersectoral collaboration , Indigenous Peoples
Abstract
The volume of calls for governments and public health officials to take concerted action on climate change has become almost deafening. Public health researchers and practitioners need to look beyond what we know about the health impacts of climate change, to what we are doing as our part in contributing to holding global temperature rise to under 1.5°C. This commentary reflects on the common threads across the articles of a special section in this issue of the Canadian Journal of Public Health, “Moving on IPCC 1.5°C”, which sought examples of bold research and action advancing climate change mitigation and adaptation. Among the articles, there are signs that the public health community is gaining momentum in confronting the climate crisis. Three critical lessons emerged: the need for institutional change from the top of public health, the essential power of community in intersectoral action on climate change preparedness, and the importance of centring Indigenous wisdom to decolonize colonial legacy systems. We encourage readers to move public health research and practice from an instrumental relationship with nature to one of reverence and sacred reciprocity.