It is not only our nature, environment and economy that are at stake, when the climate is changing. New research focuses on the public health implications of climate change in the arctic region.
Research on this topic has not yet been conducted in Greenland, but insights from Canada and Alaska can be of value in a Greenlandic context and can give an indication of areas that require special attention. A warmer climate can lead to new pathogens and allergies and can change the nutritional base for many people.
The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment published in 2005 contains a chapter on Public Health. The chapter deals with the direct and the indirect health-related consequences of a changing climate. It is also considers how to deal with the challenges that are expected to arise and suggests that indicators be developed to measure the impact. The report offers a number of recommendations, which provide an outline for the management of public health in arctic societies affected by a changing climate. The chapter is available online here.
The online portal Arctic Health hosted by the US National Library of Medicine is home to a rich collection of sources in the field. The site is organised into a number of subthemes such as Food Security, Biodiversity and Human Health, Emerging Pathogens, Water and Sanitation, Atmosphere, Air Quality and Temperature Extremes, Elders and Children, Psychosocial Health and Public Health – all under the common headline Climate Change and Human Health. The portal provides links to scientific papers, reports and video lectures and focuses primarily on Canada and Alaska.
Inuit Circumpolar Council publicised a health strategy in 2010 for the period 2010-2014. The strategy treats health in an inclusive manner for Inuit in the entire arctic region and also includes climate change as an important parameter to take into account. The strategy is available here.