Giving Compass' Take:

• Courtney Howard shares how addressing to the COVID-19 crisis will help us efficiently improve our response to the climate crisis.

• What are the ties between global health and the climate crisis? What can philanthropists learn from responding to COVID-19? 

•  Here are five lessons in climate justice in the time of coronavirus. 

Courtney Howard is an emergency doctor in Yellowknife, Canada. She serves a patient population that, so far, has only seen one case of COVID-19 but is living in one of the most rapidly warming climates in the world. Howard’s emergency department serves the entire high arctic in Canada’s Northwest Territories, including many Indigenous and frontline communities experiencing climate change firsthand. This has huge consequences for health, including food security, cultural sharing, and mental health. She sees the response to coronavirus and the resulting investments as the perfect opportunity to address both new and long-standing threats to health.

The Canadian government, for example, has announced plans to fund the cleanup of abandoned oil and gas wells, which are a toxic risk to communities and would employ oil and gas workers who have been laid off. Such actions, Howard underscores, must support people’s health now, improve resilience to crises that may happen in the future, and decrease the risk of those crises occurring.

Here she shares her experiences from the COVID-19 crisis and insights on how the outcomes can and should inform conversations on climate. Howard says prioritizing mental health is key to tackling both of these tough issues, which is why she conducted this interview while cross-country skiing.

Read the full article about thinking about the climate crisis by Breanna Draxler at YES! Magazine.