Adaptation is minimising the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on people’s health and wellbeing

Climate change affects health in many ways: directly by the increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events such as prolonged heatwaves, floods and bushfires; and indirectly through worsening air quality, changes in the spread of infectious diseases, risks to food safety and drinking water quality, and effects on mental health. The impacts of climate change are now being experience by everyone, acknowledging that these risks are especially pronounced among people who are vulnerable to heat and other climate related illnesses and their impacts. The Grampians Region will need to adapt its housing and infrastructure in order to protect communities and support mental health across the Region.

Adaptation plans and actions already underway

Lead agency

Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2019-2023 and guidance for tackling climate change

Department of Health

Municipal health and wellbeing plans

Local governments across the Region

Climate action and health promotion programs

Primary care partnerships

Place-based community and education programs

Neighbourhood houses

Rural outreach programs

Health providers partnerships

Rural People; Resilient Futures pilot project

RMIT Centre for Urban Research

Support programs for communities impacted by extreme weather eg. flood, fire, droughtFederal, state and local governments
Food Strategy 2019-2022City of Ballarat
Community food swaps and community gardensNeighbourhood houses and community groups

Leading opportunities

  • Influence municipal ‘10-year community vision’ and other local government plans and strategies.
  • Improving awareness of the stress caused by the current and future climate impacts.
  • Telehealth can support conversations about climate-related health impacts and how to adapt.
  • Capitalise on opportunities when communities are together to promote health and wellbeing.
  • Local place-based groups adapting to health and wellbeing impacts of climate change.
  • Climate adaptation education and training for municipal, health sector and community planners.
  • Increased use of active transport options.
  • Low cost town infrastructure and asset upgrades eg. bus stop shelters; public drinking water fountains.

Main barriers

  • Climate change affects people before action is taken and the scale and urgency of adaptation needed may be easily missed.
  • Climate change increases the disincentives for people to undertake outdoor activity.
  • Declining and ageing populations in rural and remote communities pose public health challenges and reduce volunteerism for provision of community services.
  • Many households remain dependent on cars and roads for their main transport needs.
  • Limited community understanding of the link between climate and health.
  • Increased instances of blue-green algae impacting water quality for recreation, agriculture and drinking.
  • Costs associated with mental health-related impacts of climate change, such as impacts due to drought.
  • Old housing stock lacks thermal efficiency resulting in high household energy costs.
  • Single-wire earth return (SWER) transmission lines are switched off to manage fire risk on hot days and electricity “brown-outs” are also more frequent.

    Dr Susie Burke, environmental psychologist

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    We acknowledge the First Nations Peoples of the land and waters that we live, care and work upon within the Grampians Region. We respect the continuous culture that has been embedded into history for thousands of years. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.