Comox Valley Nurses for Health and the Environment launches website

Comox Valley Nurses for Health and the Environment launches website

Submitted to The Record

We are as alarmed as many citizens to hear that Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world, causing irreversible changes to our climate.

The impact of climate change on our health is undeniable, and unfortunately, our most vulnerable populations will suffer the most.

Joan Baez once said, “Action is the antidote to despair.”

As nurses, we want to do our part to help bring awareness, take action, and advocate for the health of people in the Comox Valley and beyond. That is why the Comox Valley Nurses for Health and the Environment (CVNHE) was created and is now launching their website, www.cvnhe.org, which contains a wealth of reader-friendly information including details on upcoming events, such as the “Move2 Electric” electric vehicle extravaganza event on May 18 from 10-4 at the Comox Valley Sports Centre.

This group of actively practising as well as student and retired nurses are using our trusted position within the healthcare profession and the public to actively engage around issues that threaten health and well-being in our community. In addition to the threats of climate change to human health, we also currently focus on plastic pollution and air quality.

CVNHE are pleased to live on the beautiful unceded traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation, and we are eager to use our reach in the community to ensure the Comox Valley remains a healthy place to live for ours and future generations.

To that aim, so far we have advocated for the banning of single-use plastic bags across the Comox Valley and have made formal requests to the three municipal councils, the CVRD and K’ómoks First Nation. Cumberland adopted the bylaw on March 25 to ban single-use plastic bags and straws as of July 1, 2019. Courtenay council and the CVRD have also presented their favorable staff reports on the issue to date. CVNHE nursing students at North Island College are undertaking a public awareness campaign on reusable bags in the community and regularly visit local elementary and high schools to discuss plastic and our health.

In terms of air quality, we work closely with Breathe Clean Air Comox Valley to bring awareness and educate the public on the link between wood smoke and cardiovascular and lung health.

Despite our name, the organization is not limited to nurses. We wish to be inclusive and seek to work in conjunction with other existing local environmental groups that are equally concerned with the well-being of our planet. We believe that the synergy of these groups coming together for a common purpose is the catalyst required to bring much-needed attention to our current environmental challenges.

If schools or other local environmental organizations are interested in working in partnership with CVNHE toward our common goal of a healthy planet for all, please contact Helen Boyd, co-ordinator, at cvnhe@telus.net or find us on Facebook (@thecvnhe) or Instagram (@cvnhe).