Climate change is one of the most critical issues which is one of the trending topics of the world today. The shift in climate change affects both living and non-living entities resulting in various health related issues. The connection between these two (climate change and health) are dynamical in nature. We should pay more attention to this dynamic duo while assessing the impact and effect of this global challenge. We all know that Humans and nature are intrinsically connected. The consequences of this climate change reverberate across all forms of life. The impending threat of climate change and its consequences have created discussions among people from diverse nations. The major question is, is there a connection? Let’s dive into the fact.
The Connection between Climate Change and Health
According to the UK news source EasternEye, health issues have seen a staggering 45% increase, and the underlying cause becomes evident upon closer inspection, i.e., the climate change. Climate change and public health are intricately intertwined. If we look into the climate change, any shift in climate change can, and does have far-reaching consequences for humanity. There is an intricate relationship between climate and health.
It’s widely acknowledged that humans and nature exert a mutual influence on each other. There are various environmental factors that influence us, climate change places number one among them, and it’s an important one. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) sixth assessment report (AR6) states an alarming pace of climate change, surpassing our expectations. The global temperature is rising rapidly and adapting to them is increasingly challenging. Climate change is directly influencing the humanity. And it calls for urgent action to address emergencies like wildfire, tropical storms and flood, which are increasing in scale. Various researches shows that there are billions of people already inhabit regions which are exposed to the effect of climate change. So, from this it is sure that coming years the causes of climate change will exceed our expectations.
Before we explore the effects of climate change, it’s crucial to understand the root causes of this colossal challenge. From ages we considered greenhouse effect as the primary driver of climate change. But the major fact is that, there are other significant contributors to this complex and messy issue, Let’s investigate some of the important elements.
Understanding the Causes of Climate Change
1. Natural Causes of Climate Change
Some climate changes are inherent to Earth’s natural processes. From the beginning of earth’s existence and life on earth volcanic eruptions, solar radiations and even alterations in our planet’s orbit made a historical effect on climate change. These natural factors operate on slow, often imperceptible timescales.
2. Human-Driven Causes of Climate Change
Human activities are predominantly responsible for the ongoing climate-related issues worldwide, primarily due to greenhouse gas emissions. the major contributors of this human driven causes of climate change are the combustion of fossil fuels, deforestation, urbanization, and shift in vegetation patterns and all.
The transportation sector significantly contributes to the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This detrimentally impacts the climate. This industry is responsible for 24% of direct carbon dioxide emissions. Fossil-fuelled transportation emissions produce smog, soot, and other harmful air pollutants. Reducing transportation emissions is a critical step in securing the world from climate crisis.
These climate-related components result in various health issues that negatively impact human beings. Because of its impact, climate change is mainly impacting and negatively influencing human beings. That too health is being questioned here. The serious impact of climate change is its exposure to a person or a large group of people. Climate change impacts human beings both directly and indirectly
Impact of Climate Change on Health
1.Extreme Weather Conditions
Climate change is a catalyst for an increase in extreme weather events. A shift in the climate patterns is happening lately and because of that the major events, such as heatwaves, storms, and flooding are occurring frequently. The direct impact of these events on human health is profound. Heatwaves can lead to heat-related illnesses, including heat strokes and heat exhaustion. These mainly affects the high risk-vulnerable population, such as the elderly, children, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions. A clearcut preparation of the healthcare resources are crucial for eradication these high-risk situations.
2. Rising Temperatures
Rising global temperatures are a hallmark of climate change and a direct threat to human well-being. In urban areas with limited access to cooling, prolonged periods of extreme heat are becoming more common. In these conditions, the risk of heat related illness escalates. Healthcare systems must adapt to cope with an increased demand for treatment during heatwaves. Public health campaigns are essential to educate the public on staying safe in extreme heat.
3. Air Quality
Climate change adversely affects air quality by exacerbating the formation of ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter. These pollutants significantly impact the respiratory health conditions. People living in areas with poor air quality are more likely to experience respiratory problems, very serious conditions like asthma and the risk of cardio vascular diseases. Public health measure should include efforts to reduce air pollutions. In that way communities can be educated on minimizing exposure to harmful air pollutants.
4. Vector-Borne Diseases
Climate change influences the distribution and behaviour of disease-carrying vectors, such as mosquitoes. When the temperature rises, these vectors are exposed to more people to diseases like malaria and dengue fever thus resulting in expanding of their geographic range. The rise in number of the Vector-borne diseases call for more public health initiatives, which includes vector control measures and community education, which prevent outbreaks.
5. Water-Borne Diseases
Increased precipitation and flooding, driven by climate change, can contaminate water sources, heightening the risk of waterborne diseases like cholera and dysentery. The people who are more at risk are the ones who are the vulnerable populations i.e., especially those with limited access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Ensuring clean water access and proper sanitation is a fundamental public health imperative in these regions.
6. Food Security
Climate change-induced disruptions in agricultural systems can lead to crop failures and food shortages. This, in turn, can result in long-lasting health consequences among children like malnutrition. Strategies like sustainable agriculture practice, diversifying food sources, and improving food distribution system should be put forwarded in order to ensure food security in the face of climate change.
7. Mental Health
The emotional and psychological toll of climate change should not be underestimated. Climate-induced migration and displacement and the loss of livelihoods and homes due to extreme weather events, can lead to mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Comprehensive response to climate changes should be incorporated like mental health support and community resilience-building critical components which impacts on well-being.
8. Infectious Disease Resurgence
Changes in climate conditions can influence the distribution and behaviour of disease-causing organisms. This may lead to the upturn of infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus. Keeping a sharp eye in disease surveillance and swift response strategies are crucial to managing these outbreaks and protecting public health.
Understanding and addressing the complex interplay between climate change and health necessitates a multi-pronged approach. This includes strong efforts to eradicate the cause of climate change, adapting various strategies to minimalize the impact. Incorporating these strong public health measures safeguards vulnerable communities from the health risks associated with changing climate change patterns.