By the end of the course, you should be able to do the following:
- Describe some of the direct and indirect effects of climate change on your health
- Judge the connections between the different topics covered in the course and how their interaction impacts your health
- Evaluate the role of different interventions in human interactions with climate change
Your online learning will include the following methods:
- Academic and non-academic articles
- Participation in written discussions with other students
- Participation in videoconference seminars
For Liberal Arts for 55+ Certificate students: you will write a reflective essay.
Week 1: What is climate change? Why should we care?
Climate change already has consequences. And changes in local ecosystems will present specific threats for humans there, with many interrelated impacts. Among the areas of life affected, health is immediate and prominent. The incidence, range and seasonality of many existing disorders will alter due to their connection with average climate conditions, climatic variability and other non-infectious drivers of health.
Week 2: How does climate change affect our respiratory system?
The incidence and prevalence childhood asthma and allergies have increased steeply in the past 50 years. This trend has occurred over too short a period to be explained by genetic modifications within the human population. As environmental factors play a role in the development of allergies, it has been hypothesized that climate change may be partially responsible for the increase.
Week 3: How does climate change affect our mental health? And why does it increase the likelihood of infections?
Extreme weather events (such as hurricanes or droughts) impact mental health—conditions such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are often diagnosed in survivors—and climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of these events. Additionally, with warming temperatures and changes in precipitation, insects that carry infections are extending their geographical range, exposing more communities to disease.
Week 4: What can individuals and communities do?
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated that without appropriate action, the social and economic devastation of climate change will be greater than that of COVID-19. Climate change exacerbates health inequalities, but has also been described as, “the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century”. It is crucial that individuals and communities are involved in designing mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Books, materials and resources
You will access course resources using SFU's online course management system, Canvas.