Climate change poses current and future risks to human health. Communities in NSW may need to change how they live and work to adapt to health risks and new climate conditions. This involves both reducing and managing the health impacts of climate change and requires help from governments at all levels, businesses and communities.
Individuals can also take simple steps to lower their health risks from the changing climate, and gain immediate or gradual health benefits.
Use active transport
Cars, houses and appliances take up energy, which releases greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to air pollution and global warming. You can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using cleaner energy sources and using energy more economically. Cycling or walking instead of driving the car helps lower emissions and has important co-benefits, such as contributing to better air quality and supporting physical activity. In turn, physical activity lowers the risk of obesity and chronic diseases like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, and can also improve mental health
Be prepared for heat waves and other severe weather events
As climate change is expected to increase severe weather events, you can keep up to date with local news and weather reports for alerts and warnings about extreme weathers. Communities living in regions of NSW exposed to frequent extreme weather, like bushfires or floods, may need to prepare evacuation plans.
For more information, please visit how to prepare for a heat wave and emergency preparedness for natural disasters and severe weather.
Lower your exposure to air pollution
Air pollutants like ozone and particulate matter may rise with higher temperatures in some regions of NSW. Check your local weather and meteorology reports on days of extreme heat, such as the Air Quality Index (AQI). If the AQI is high, minimise exposure to air pollution (for example, planning how much time is spent exercising outdoors). If you or a family member has a cardiovascular or respiratory condition, make sure you/your family member is prepared with enough medications and relievers. Discuss any health concerns with your doctor or healthcare professional.
For more information, see air pollution.
Sourcing and producing local food
Climate change may affect food production and increase fresh food prices. Sourcing local produce lowers greenhouse gas emissions from transportation of food and supports your local community and farmers. Local fresh food also aids good nutrition and can be a stable food supply for low-income families. You may be able to produce your own fruit and vegetables by making a vegetable garden or veggie patch.
For more information on adapting to climate change impacts in NSW, please visit the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage