Another set of exciting projects have just begun as part of FNHA's Indigenous Climate Health Action Program (ICHAP). This year, ICHAP is supporting 16 new community-led climate action initiatives across the province, addressing a diverse range of climate health priorities.
Each project is initiated with a 'kick-off' meeting, where community project teams and FNHA staff can connect outside of the email inbox and begin working together in a good way.
The meetings are also an opportunity to provide project teams with additional supports that are available through Environmental Public Health Services- such as resources, tools and training, networking and information sharing, and additional funding opportunities that might be relevant for the project.
ICHAP supports First Nations climate leadership through community-driven projects which:
2. By creating unprecedented or unanticipated health threats in places where they have not previously occurred.
2022 Climate Health Projects
Whereas a large portion of last year's ICHAP projects focused on enhancing local food systems to strengthen food security and sovereignty, a key theme for this year is climate-health assessment and action planning.
Multiple communities are undertaking Climate-Health Risk Assessments or applying ICHAP funds toward community engagement on the health and wellness components of broader climate-change adaptation planning. Through these projects, Nations in BC are leading the way in applying innovative and wholistic approaches that integrate climate change adaptation with health assessment and planning.
Several ICHAP projects are integrating land-based activities to support access to territory, such as bringing youth and Elders together for culture camps, or assisting Knowledge Keepers in visiting hard to access areas to identify, map, and harvest food and medicines that may be changing under new climate conditions.
Increasingly, communities are highlighting the mental health impacts of climate change, such as increasing grief and anxiety about the rate and uncertainty of changes they see on the land and the impact of extreme weather events. Multiple climate-action projects seek to address this by creating opportunities for individuals to engage in hands-on climate-action in their community, including through providing land-based climate leadership training for youth and restoration of culturally important species or habitats such as cedar ecosystems.
Several projects focusing on food security and sovereignty include actions to expand local food production through community gardening and pilot greenhouses. An exciting development for the program this year was collaborating with United Way's Food Infrastructure Grant, which provided multiple applicants with funding for infrastructure and major capital components that ICHAP is currently unable to provide.
FNHA's Climate Change and Health Adaptation Specialist, Maery Kaplan-Hallam, working closely with other members of the FNHA's Environmental Public Health Services team, will be providing support to ICHAP projects as they are implemented over the year – including developing project snap shots to share through the program webpage. Keep a look out for updates and stories about the program and the incredible community initiatives underway!
While the proposal intake for ICHAP is currently closed, we expect to run another call for proposals in fall of this year (2022) for projects to begin April 2023.
You can learn more about how Environmental Public Health Services is working with communities to address climate change at the links below:
Indigenous Climate Health Action Program Webpage
BC LEO Network Inaugural Webinar
WATCH Program Webpage