Homeowners across Canada are already feeling the impacts of climate change in Canada, from extreme weather events like flooding and forest fires that threaten homes and lives, to more insidious costs like increased heating and cooling bills caused by temperature fluctuations. Your home’s indoor air quality and climate change are linked in many ways, making the impacts of climate change in Canada and its role in our health a hot area of research for scientists across Canada.
The Impact of Climate Change on Indoor Air Quality
Your health is inextricably linked to the environment around you and because health is one of the impacts of climate change in Canada, monitoring how your indoor air quality is affecting you and your family will become increasingly important. As Canadians, we’re proud of our snowy winters, and love our outdoor sports like snowboarding or skating – but as the temperatures rise, seasonal weather patterns are likely to change and bring with them a host of new challenges and changes. Snowmelt due to higher temperatures will flood rivers and streams, which may flood homes and cause mold growth; dry spells may aid in the spread of forest fires and spread plumes of smoke across the continent.
The Health Impacts of Climate Change
As the earth’s surface warms, one of the biggest impacts of climate change in Canada will be to our health. For example – this winter in the GTA we had a number of days where a big snowfall was followed by above-average temperatures which caused rapid melting, and, in some parts of the province, flooding and ice dams in local rivers. All that water has to go somewhere, and it often ends up in attics and basements where it can precipitate the growth of mold, which can seriously affect your health and wellness.
Climate change will also impact your health and indoor air quality in other ways. Increased indoor humidity and extreme temperatures can sometimes aid in the spread of viruses and bacteria, and changing weather patterns may shift or increase airborne pollutants, making those people with respiratory problems particularly at risk.
One way in which the impacts of climate change in Canada are being felt is in home building trends. The current popularity of building tightly sealed homes and business to improve energy efficiency (therefore lessening the load on our power grid and emitting fewer harmful emissions) has actually lead to an increase of poor indoor air quality in poorly designed and maintained homes. Sick Building Syndrome can happen when homes are both sealed tight and inadequately ventilated – no air or water will get in, but neither can toxins or other chemical pollutants get flushed out. Rising temperatures mean that we’re using more and more energy to heat and cool our homes to remain comfortable, but it’s important to remember that ventilation is one of the keys to a healthy environment.
You, Me, and the Weather
As our planet changes, it’s important to do what you can to lessen your load on the environment and to slow climate change. The impacts of climate change, such as erratic weather patterns, super storms, and rising sea levels are some of the other effects of our changing environment, and they will all affect your home and indoor air quality as we adapt and change alongside it.