Researching Environmental Issues and Health in Nova Scotia


Nova Scotia is a Canadian province with a rich history, diverse culture, and unique environmental challenges. Nova Scotia’s environmental issues range from climate change and deforestation to water pollution and biodiversity loss. These challenges can have adverse effects on human health, such as respiratory illnesses, gastrointestinal illnesses, and reduced access to natural resources.

To address these environmental challenges and promote public health, it is crucial to conduct research to understand their causes and develop strategies to mitigate their effects. This article provides an overview of environmental issues and health research in Nova Scotia, including major research organizations, funding opportunities, and collaborations with global health organizations.

Environmental Issues in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia faces several environmental challenges that can have significant impacts on human health. According to the 2022 Environmental Performance Index, Canada ranks 25th out of 180 countries globally, indicating that there is room for improvement in addressing environmental challenges. Some of the significant environmental challenges facing Nova Scotia are outlined below:

  • Climate Change: Nova Scotia’s average temperature has increased by 1.5°C since 1948, resulting in more frequent extreme weather events such as heatwaves and storms. These events can lead to increased incidence of heat stroke and respiratory illnesses.
  • Water Pollution: Industrial and agricultural activities contribute to water pollution in Nova Scotia, leading to the contamination of drinking water sources and aquatic ecosystems. Waterborne diseases can cause gastrointestinal illnesses and skin infections.
  • Land Degradation: Deforestation and urbanization have led to land degradation in Nova Scotia, leading to respiratory illnesses and displacement of communities.
  • Biodiversity Loss: Biodiversity loss due to habitat destruction and climate change can lead to reduced access to food and natural resources.

About Health Research in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is at the forefront of health research in Canada, boasting an array of organizations dedicated to advancing knowledge in various health domains. These institutions support research spanning a wide spectrum, from clinical studies and epidemiology to public health policy and behavioral health issues. Among the prominent organizations facilitating health research in the province are:

  • Canadian Academy of Health Sciences: An independent body that champions excellence in health sciences research, shaping policies and initiatives that enhance the health and well-being of Canadians.
  • Canadian Nurses Foundation: This national entity supports nursing research and education, aiming to improve healthcare outcomes across Canada through evidence-based practices.
  • Nova Scotia Health: As the largest health service provider in the province, Nova Scotia Health plays a pivotal role not only in delivering healthcare but also in conducting research that informs clinical practices and health policies.

Recent research initiatives in Nova Scotia have been diverse, reflecting the complex health needs of its population. Notably, projects such as the Success Program are making strides in enhancing community health by focusing on the well-being of youth and families in vulnerable areas. Mental health services are also receiving a significant boost, with Nova Scotia Health spearheading efforts to make mental health care more accessible through innovative programs like the Strongest Families Institute.

An area garnering increasing attention is the study of behavioral health, particularly in understanding the dynamics of gambling. One significant area of interest is the “Understanding of Healthy Gambling Behaviors“, which examines the fine line between recreational gambling and gambling addiction, and its implications on mental health. By exploring the psychological, social, and economic factors influencing gambling behaviors, researchers aim to identify effective strategies for prevention and intervention, thus mitigating the mental health risks associated with gambling addiction.

These endeavors are supported by various funding opportunities, including scholarships and grants, which empower researchers to explore novel ideas and share their findings with the broader scientific community. Collaborations with esteemed global health organizations further amplify the impact of Nova Scotia’s health research, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and best practices on a global scale.

By fostering a rich research environment, Nova Scotia continues to contribute valuable insights to the world’s understanding of health and disease, ensuring the well-being of its communities and advancing the frontiers of health science.

Collaborations with Global Health Organizations

Global health organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, play a crucial role in promoting environmental sustainability and public health worldwide. These organizations provide resources and technical expertise to support research and interventions that address environmental issues and promote health.

Nova Scotia research organizations often collaborate with global health organizations to conduct research and develop policies that promote environmental sustainability and health. These collaborations can help leverage resources and expertise and foster knowledge exchange to address global environmental challenges.

One such initiative is the WHO’s Health and Environment Linkages Initiative (HELI), which aims to improve public health by addressing environmental and social determinants of health. The initiative focuses on addressing issues such as air pollution, climate change, and water sanitation, which are major environmental challenges in many regions, including Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia has collaborated with the WHO through the HELI initiative to develop policies and programs that address these challenges.

Another example of a collaborative initiative is the UNICEF Canada One Youth program. The program aims to empower youth in Canada to become leaders in sustainable development and environmental stewardship. The program provides youth with the resources and support they need to develop initiatives and projects that promote environmental sustainability and public health. Nova Scotia has participated in the program, with several youth-led initiatives aimed at addressing environmental challenges and promoting health in the province.

Collaborations between Nova Scotia research organizations and global health organizations can also facilitate knowledge exchange and capacity building. For example, the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR) is a network of Canadian organizations and individuals working in global health research. The CCGHR provides opportunities for networking, training, and capacity building to support research that addresses global health challenges, including those related to the environment and public health. Nova Scotia research organizations have collaborated with the CCGHR to develop research projects and initiatives that promote environmental sustainability and health.

Resources for Conducting Health and Environmental Research

Conducting health and environmental research requires specific skills, such as data analysis, research design, and scientific writing. Several resources are available to support researchers in Nova Scotia, such as the Canadian Common CV (CCV) system, Genome Management System (GMS) Canada, and Knowledge Translation (KT) Canada. These resources provide training, tools, and technical support for researchers to develop their skills and conduct high-quality research.

Moreover, a research project progress report template and terms of reference for advisory boards can help researchers monitor and evaluate their progress, ensure transparency, and establish clear roles and responsibilities for project stakeholders.

Nova Scotia Scholarships and Funding Opportunities

Statistics demonstrate the impact of funding opportunities on health and environmental research in Nova Scotia. In 2022, the Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship awarded $1.8 million in scholarships to 157 graduate students, including those studying health and environmental research. These scholarships help to support the development of a highly skilled workforce and promote research excellence in the province.

The Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust (NSRIT) is another funding source that supports research and development projects in Nova Scotia. The NSRIT provides funding to support projects that contribute to the province’s economic growth and sustainability. Since its establishment in 2002, the NSRIT has invested over $104 million in research and innovation projects in Nova Scotia.

To be eligible for these scholarships and funding opportunities, applicants must meet specific criteria, such as residency and academic performance. For example, the Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada who are enrolled in a full-time graduate program at a Nova Scotia university. Applicants must have a minimum grade point average of 3.7 on a 4.3 scale in their previous degree program.

The Importance of Environmental Protection and Personal Contribution

Environmental protection is essential to promote sustainability and protect public health. By taking actions to reduce environmental degradation, individuals can contribute to promoting a healthier and more sustainable future. Some ways individuals can contribute to environmental protection include:

  • Reducing carbon footprint: Carbon footprint refers to the total amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of human activities. Individuals can reduce their carbon footprint by using public transportation, walking or biking, and using energy-efficient appliances.
  • Reducing waste: Reducing waste can help conserve natural resources and reduce pollution. Individuals can reduce waste by recycling, composting, and reducing their use of single-use plastics.
  • Conserving water: Conserving water is crucial to protect freshwater ecosystems and ensure adequate access to clean water. Individuals can conserve water by using low-flow faucets, taking shorter showers, and fixing leaks promptly.
  • Supporting environmental organizations: Individuals can support environmental organizations, such as the Nova Scotia Nature Trust or the Ecology Action Centre, by volunteering or donating to support their efforts to protect the environment.

By taking these actions, individuals can contribute to environmental protection and promote a healthier and more sustainable future for Nova Scotia and the world. Additionally, research on environmental issues and health can inform policy decisions and promote evidence-based interventions to address these challenges.