Webinar on climate change and health: Working with First Nations

The CCGHR Working Group on the Health Impacts of Climate Change is pleased to invite you to the nintth event in our webinar series! 


Did you miss this webinar? You can watch and listen to the presentation on YouTube!

Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Time: 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM EDT

Where: Zoom

How to Join

Register here to receive webinar connection details >


Climate Change and Health: Working with First Nations

Climate change imposes serious potential threats to short-term and long-term health of everyone but it particularly affects the well-being in First Nations communities. Incidences of climate change associated community health emergencies, amplified by other cumulative environmental impacts, are becoming commonplace in Canada. Climate change also worsens symptoms of many chronic diseases and may indirectly increase the prevalence of new non-communicable diseases. The rural location of many communities, ongoing colonialism, cumulative social, socioeconomic, and environmental stressors, and the deep connection to the land make First Nations’ health particularly sensitive to climate change. However, as highlighted in the recent IPCC reports, Indigenous peoples may also have a key role to play in helping to develop more sustainable governance models to dealing with climate change. We talk about vulnerabilities and risk assessments but fail to acknowledge the structural and process-related inequities imposed by our own surveys and other academic inquiries. Similarly, we fail to be self-reflective about our privileges as academic researchers and explicit about how we need to share power in our climate health research projects.

Stories we tell and the way we frame problems influence the outcomes of our projects. The goal of this presentation is to provide a more nuanced picture of climate health research than usually is discussed, emphasizing especially aspects that First Nations tend to pay more attention to. The webinar will discuss climate change impacts on health and power asymmetries in climate health research, as well as highlight the potential leadership role of Indigenous peoples in addressing climate health challenges.


Abernethy, PaeiviDr. Paivi Abernethy is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria, and a Climate Change & Health Specialist with the First Nations Health Authority, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. She has been working in sustainable healthy community development with Indigenous and rural communities since 2005, focusingon social, ecological and Indigenous determinants of health and community capacity building. Her work centres on impacts of various environmental factors on community and ecosystem health, ranging from climate change, pollution, and natural resource governance (particularly water) to cultural and socioeconomic influences on health.
  • Facilitator: Krishna Todi, BCCI-SYP representative for Simon Fraser University.
  • Organizer: Tasha Kara, Coordinator with Health Emergency Management BC and Community of Practice Coordinator for CCGHR-BCCI portfolio.