November 29, 2017
Climate change a treaty issue
Health professionals have gathered in Wellington last week to discuss climate change and how it will affect their work, with the effect on Maori high on the agenda.
Alex Macmillan, the co-convenor of Ora Taiao, the NZ Climate and Health Council, says they will hear case studies from hospitals and general practices which are taking action to reduce climate pollution and prepare for its impacts.
She says in New Zealand the connections between hauora and the environment are well appreciated, and there is also growing awareness that climate change is a Treaty of Waitangi issue because of the disproportionate impact it will have on Maori.
"Maori communities already suffer from structural injustices which mean they have worse health outcomes and that means they are more vulnerable to climate change impacts and iwi are invested things like farming, fishing, and forestry, all of which will be impacted by climate change," Dr Macmillan says.
Maori coastal communities could be affected by flooding and extreme weather events, and rising temperatures will also make it harder for outdoor workers.
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