Forum Reveals Public Health Benefits of Shade

Written by admin, October 30, 2015

October 30, 2015 – 60+ Gather to Start a Shade Movement

More than 60 local community planners, environmentalists and health experts gathered today toScreen Shot 10-30-15 at 10.49 AM learn about the impressive public health benefits of shade.

“Increasing the amount of tree shade in our community contributes to better long term health in so many ways, not to mention helps the environment,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health with Peterborough Public Health.  “More trees gives us lower skin cancer rates, higher physical activity rates, better air quality and less extreme temperatures, while also lowering energy costs and greenhouse gases.”

Dr. Salvaterra noted that skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada, yet it is largely preventable.  In Ontario, rates have increased since 1986 in both men and women; however, skin cancer rates in Peterborough were significantly higher by 24.4% and 21.5%, respectively.

“Shade protects humans from over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation, a known carcinogen, and the increased risk of skin cancer, types of eye melanoma, lip cancer, cataracts and premature skin aging and wrinkling,” said Dr. Salvaterra.  “Research results show a tight relationship between per capita income and forest cover; however shade is a universal protection method that does not discriminate based on economic status.”

The goal of the forum, entitled “A Passion for Trees: Enhancing Shade in Municipal and School Settings” was to foster a “shade movement” and mobilize municipal decision-makers in to action around a common vision.

Participants also heard from other leading experts on the benefits of shade, as well as how to conduct shade audits and ways to increase shade in their community.  These other speakers included Dr. Karen Morrison, Professor at York University and Member of Eco-Health Ontario; Meredith Carter, Otonabee Regional Conservation Authority, Manager of Environmental and Technical Services; Paul Hambidge, City of Peterborough Urban Forestry Specialist; Stephanie Ellens-Clark, Planner at Region of Waterloo and Anita Record, Peterborough District Manager -Canadian Cancer Society.

For further information about shade and the burgeoning shade movement, please contact Cathy Therrien, Public Health Nurse, at Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000, ext. 239.

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For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence, Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391