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Saturday, 29 June 2013

Canada Day - a time to celebrate: Our weather and its impacts on public health

Its Canada day weekend, and time to celebrate a country that regales in its diversity of culture and geography.  In a country filled with many riches, we routinely celebrate the diversity of the weather.  Canadian weather opens conversations across the country and brings us together across four and half hours of time zones, from ocean to ocean to ocean.  And the weather never ceases to amaze and strike awe.  

Our thoughts go to Albertans and others struggling to recover from under silt that has infiltrated nooks and crannies, including hundreds of homes.  With it comes the dreadful task of cleaning up after such flooding.  Tragically, but perhaps amazingly, only four lives were lost. The cleaning bill will be in the billions.

Then the awful reminder of the impacts of heat waves, with the loss of life of a two year old north of Toronto from leaving a child in a vehicle. The recent killer tornadoes in the US which took the lives of a couple of dozen persons to floods in India that have killed over a thousand are further reminders of the global weather threats that surround us.   

As we head into what appears to be a sweltering heat wave for parts of the country, with predicted record ever high temperatures in areas of the US, it is time to reflect and recognize that while we enjoy and revel in our diverse weather, it is a force of nature that requires reverence. 

Readers are urged to review the blog postings on the Canadian weather that kills  and the celebration of Canada’s contributions to Communicating the health risks of weather .   They remain some of the best documented materials on health impacts of Canadian weather and the heroic efforts taken to reduce risk through solid communications. 

Most of Canada will be able to enjoy sunshine through the Canada day weekend – do so safely in the sun, and safely with the reminder of how weather can suddenly turn a pleasant day into a tragic event. 

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