Irreversible extreme heat: Protecting Canadians and communities from a lethal future
Urban areas are the hot spots of global warming. Extreme heat, alongside ﬂooding and wildfire, is a key risk to the health and well-being of Canadians. The situation is growing more dangerous, driven by irreversible climate change— Canada is warming, on average, at twice the global rate.
Urgent action is required now to manage risk and avoid worsening impacts – and ultimately fatalities.
The good news is that heat-related illness and death are largely preventable with knowledge, education, and adaptive action. However, resilience to extreme heat cannot be achieved by relying on air conditioning alone.
This presentation will provide an overview of new national guidance, representing input from over 60 subject matter experts, outlining practical actions that Canadians can undertake to reduce risks from extreme heat including:
- changing behaviour (non-structural)
- working with nature (green infrastructure)
- improving buildings and public infrastructure (grey infrastructure)
Individuals, building owners and managers and communities all have a role to play, and those most vulnerable will require additional support.
The presentation will particularly consider how environmental health practitioners can contribute, by acting on their own and encouraging others to act.
Joanna Eyquem is Managing Director of Climate-Resilient Infrastructure and lead author of the Intact Centre’s new guidance “Irreversible Extreme Heat: Protecting Canadians and Communities from a Lethal Future”. Joanna has 20 years of professional experience in Canada and the UK, combining technical expertise in climate adaptation, natural hazard management, and freshwater habitat rehabilitation. Her additional focus areas include: (1) mobilizing flood-resilience for buildings, communities, and river basins; (2) developing guidance on use and value of natural infrastructure to reduce climate risk, (3) promoting programs to limit wildfire risk; and (4) incorporating consideration of physical climate risk and natural assets into investment decisions. Prior to joining the Intact Centre, Joanna was Global Technical Practice Group Lead for Climate Resilience at AECOM. She is a Professional Geoscientist (P.Geo.), Chartered Water and Environmental Manager (CWEM) and Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv.). She holds an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London and a BSc in Geography (Earth Sciences) from the University of Exeter, UK.
For more information and resources on extreme heat, visit our topic page here.