A Dalhousie University medical school student is travelling to Paris next week in hopes of educating world leaders on the health impacts of climate change.
Kit Moran, a first-year student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, is one of two Canadian medical students – and one of only six in the world – selected to represent the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
The IFMSA is an independent organization of medical students devoted to exchanging, discussing and initiating projects to help create a healthier world.
The other four students joining the two Canadians hail from Panama, Denmark, Italy and Tunisia.
"A lot of us are on the same page, we understand the connection between health and climate change, whether it's food security or environmental refugees," Moran, 25, said in an interview.
The connection between climate change and global health doesn't get a lot of attention, but Moran said the correlation is obvious.
"It's not what people usually think of when they think of climate change, but the pollution that causes climate change has a demonstrably negative effect on health."
In 2013, a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer and is also linked to an increased risk for bladder cancer.
The World Health Organization predicts that between 2030 and 2050, climate change will lead to 250,000 additional deaths worldwide per year due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress.
"Not only does climate change hurt our environment, but it hurts our health," said Moran, calling the Paris conference a "great opportunity" to discuss the dual threat.
Although he's just getting started in the field of medicine, the Prince George, B.C., native has an extensive background in climate change and holds a master's degree in environmental policy and regulation.
His thesis project examined the impact of fossil fuel development on the health of Canada's northern indigenous peoples.
He'll arrive in Paris just two weeks after terror attacks killed 129 people, but said that hasn't deterred him from attending the conference.
"What's happening here is a huge step forward in mitigating climate change … you can't let things like this stop you."
French authorities Wednesday banned two climate change rallies planned to take place outside the conference.