Victorian early childhood services, schools and workplaces are being called upon to take action to create healthier environments for learning, working and living.
The Achievement Program, a free health and wellbeing program delivered by Cancer Council Victoria, has launched a climate and health initiative to empower Victorian early childhood services, schools and workplaces to take climate actions, bringing positive change for the health of the community and the planet.
Climate change is being described by the World Health Organization as one of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century. Health and safety are directly impacted by the increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events and indirectly through poorer air quality, changes in the spread of infectious diseases, risks to food safety and drinking water quality, and effects on mental health.
Tope Adepoyibi, Achievement Program head at Cancer Council Victoria, believes this new initiative will provide workplaces and education settings with the knowledge and confidence they need to tackle climate change and its impacts on health.
“Our members can now integrate climate actions into their existing health and wellbeing initiatives such as increasing active travel, eating more plant-based foods, reducing waste, using less energy, connecting with nature and becoming more climate-ready to mitigate the climate risks and potential impacts,” Ms Adepoyibi said.
The Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), Australia's peak body on climate and health issues, are throwing their support behind the new initiative.
“Taking action on climate change now will pay dividends for our health. By acting to curb global heating, we will not only save lives, but can also strengthen community health and wellbeing, as many of the solutions required to address climate change are also good for our health,” Fiona Armstrong, executive director at the Climate and Health Alliance, said.
According to the Victorian Government’s Climate-Ready Victoria report, Victoria is expected to become warmer and drier, with more hot days, heatwaves and harsher fire weather as well as less rainfall overall but more intense downpours and flooding.
Ms Adepoyibi believes the change in weather events due to climate change is impacting workplace and education settings by putting more stress on the physical and mental health, and safety of adults and children.
“We’re committed to preventing the adverse health outcomes of climate change through providing education materials, boosting community knowledge and awareness and training local health professionals to help Victorian workplaces and education settings create healthier environments,” Ms Adepoyibi said.
The new initiative is being welcomed by workplaces and education settings right across the state, with many Victorians keen to play their part in improving the health of their community and the planet.
“We’ve uncovered a desire for people to feel supported to implement healthy changes that matter; benefiting the health of themselves, the community and the planet,” Ms Adepoyibi said.
To learn more, visit: Climate and Health