Public Health Scotland (PHS) in collaboration with Adaptation Scotland and the Improvement Service has today published an introductory briefing on working together to build climate-resilient, healthy and equitable places.
This resource for local government and other partners, such as Health Boards, Community Planning Partnerships, and local organisations, sets out how our changing climate can affect health and health inequalities both directly, and indirectly through impacts on housing, transport, and access to goods and services, which are the building blocks of good health. People who are socially and economically disadvantaged often experience significantly poorer health and are more vulnerable to climate impacts. These inequalities are underpinned by poverty, lack of power and the unequal distribution of resources and assets in the community.
The briefing discusses what can be done to adapt to these impacts and how to take a preventative approach to building climate resilience at a local level in a way that also benefits health. It starts with understanding how the challenges are interconnected, adopting a whole system approach and working together to identify actions that address the underlying causes. The resource includes a range of tools and case studies to support this.
Reflecting on the briefing, Dr Joanna Teuton, Public Health Intelligence Advisor, PHS said:
“Ensuring a just approach to climate resilience and reducing health inequalities are, and will continue to be, key challenges for Scotland in the twenty-first century. Addressing these challenges requires a broad range of partnerships to deliver better lives for the people of Scotland. Together we can create places for people to live and work which are healthy, more equitable and resilient to our changing climate.
“We strongly encourage people working in a range of sectors to take the collective action needed to adapt to climate impacts in a way that protects people from the adverse health effects of the changing climate and promotes better health and wellbeing.”
Anna Beswick, Head of Climate Ready Leadership at Sniffer and Adaptation Scotland Programme Manager, said:
“The challenge of increasing resilience and adapting to climate change is deeply connected to the health and wellbeing of humans and nature. The impacts of climate change interact with the unjust and avoidable differences in peoples’ health across the population.
“We need actions to adapt to climate change, which take into account existing inequalities and create opportunities to strengthen the building blocks of good health, including high quality housing, transport systems and natural environment.
“The new guidance helps build understanding of the connections between climate resilience and health inequalities, providing practical actions that we can implement today.”
Judi Kilgallon, Climate Change Transformation Manager at the Improvement Service, said:
“We recognise the importance of working in collaboration to tackle climate change and deliver better outcomes for places and communities. This collaborative briefing provides practical guidance, advice and resources to help organisations take action to tackle climate change and deliver better outcomes around health and wellbeing, equity and climate resilience for our places and communities.
“Climate change is a challenge that will shape the future of local authorities by necessity and provides an opportunity to bring together sectors and priorities to achieve these outcomes. At the Improvement Service, we are already working to support local government and communities through our Shaping Places for Wellbeing programme and our work with Community Councils.”