Cork Healthy Cities: how will climate change affect public health?

Cork Healthy Cities: how will climate change affect public health?
Cork Healthy Cities are hosting two events to develop action plans aimed at combating the negative effects climate change will have on public health. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

Cork Healthy Cities is holding two events, analysing the impact climate change will have on public health in Cork city.

There is a public seminar and discussion about climate change's effect on public health at 6:30pm on Monday, September 30 in Cork University Business School on Lapps Quay.

Members of the public are invited to attend this free event, but registration is required on EventBrite.

In a 2018 study carried out by Newcastle University, Cork city was listed as an area which would suffer from severe flooding in high impact, extreme weather scenarios.

The Echo also recently reported an increase in air pollution around Cork schools, as a result of increased traffic. According to the EPA, poor air quality can lead to respiratory problems, therefore impacting public health.

Denise Cahill, Cork Healthy Cities coordinator, said a number of experts will give talks at the event.

"Cork is a World Health Organisation designated Healthy City. We are looking to develop action plans to protect public health against the effects of climate change."

"The talks on Monday will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Dr Margaret Desmond, Senior Manager of Climate Services at the EPA, and those in attendance are welcome to ask questions and discuss the issues raised," said Ms Cahill.

"Climate change is a major public health issue, and can act as a catalyst for climate action because it affects us individually."

The following day, there will be a Local Actions Workshop from 9:00am to 1:30pm in Millennium Hall, in Cork City Hall. Free registration is available via EventBrite.

The aim of this second workshop is to formulate action plans for Cork city, to help combat the negative effects climate change will have on public health.

"This will be more in-depth and is aimed at professionals and people who want to take action," said Ms Cahill.

"We will identify what we need to do at the city level, and how we can take steps to protect our health."

"Experts will discuss climate change under eight different topics: air quality, transport, energy, food systems, water, biodiversity, extreme weather events, and disease," said Ms Cahill.

"We will also have Dr Christie Godsmark from UCC delivering a keynote address. She is an expert in public health and climate change. She will set the context, and explain the co-benefits of climate action for the environment and public health."

"For example, if we all got out of our cars and onto bikes, it would be good for our health but also good for the environment," said Ms Cahill.

The events will be hosted in conjunction with UCC's Environmental Research Institute, the Environmental Protection Agency, Social Health Education Project: Earth Aware, Cork City Council and EcCoWell Cork.

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