The most recent IPCC assessment on how climate change is affecting the world shows that the implications of a rapidly warming planet are terrible for human health. We need to move quickly. Due to human activity the world has warmed by 1.1°C.
The world is changing more quickly than people and animals can adapt, which has a major negative impact on our wellbeing and health. This includes rising sea levels, more severe weather, and faster sea ice melt.
There are several negative effects of high temperatures, especially heatwaves, on mental health, including an increase in anxiety and depression, and there is research that links rising temperatures to suicide attempts.
Some demographics are more vulnerable to the consequences of climate change than others, such as the young, the old, and people with pre-existing conditions. Additionally, low-income groups and indigenous people may have disproportionately harmful consequences from climate change due to limited access to healthcare and greater exposure to environmental threats.
According to scientists writing in the IPCC report, there are still “multiple, feasible and effective options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused global warming and they are available now.” Given these negative consequences, this is wonderful news. The study calls for the strengthening of public health initiatives, the inclusion of health into policies pertaining to food, infrastructure, social protection, and water, as well as the development of better early warning and monitoring systems. In order to counteract some of these negative effects on human health, it is vital to address the following links between climate change and human health.
Increased Prevalence of Diseases Brought on by Insects
Increased habitat expansion by mosquitoes and other insects that transmit illnesses like dengue, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease is made possible by warming temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns. For instance, by 2050, the number of fatalities from yellow fever in Africa might rise by up to 25%. According to data, malaria-carrying mosquitoes have already been able to travel into more temperate locations, expanding their range by roughly 6.5 meters year and moving 4.7 km away from the equator. While a dengue vaccine is available, it is not available everywhere.
Lack of Access to Food And Water Can Lead to Malnutrition And Worse Health
Climate change has an effect on both the availability and quality of water and food supplies. Dehydration and an increase in water-borne infections might follow if clean water becomes even more scarce—about half of the world’s population now experiences acute water scarcity for at least one month each year.
Global warming may affect crop production, which may lead to food shortages and price increases, which may lead to famine. Since hunger weakens the immune system and raises the risk of illness, it is necessary to ensure routine immunisation against important childhood illnesses and to be ready to respond to outbreaks of diseases like cholera that may be averted by vaccination.
There Are Mental Health Effects of Climate Change
Our mental health is being harmed by global warming in a number of ways. Extreme weather causes population displacement. Which can increase stress and be detrimental to people’s mental health. Since people are constantly searching for resources like food, water, shelter, and access to healthcare. There are several negative effects of high temperatures. Especially heatwaves, on mental health, including an increase in anxiety and depression. And there is research that links rising temperatures to suicide attempts. Data show that for every 1°C rise in the monthly average temperature. There is a 2.2% increase in death from mental illness.
In the US, short-term exposure to pollutants (PM2.5 and NO2) was related with a greater risk of acute hospital admission for psychiatric illnesses. This is consistent with the IPCC’s assertion. That air pollution also has an impact on our mental health, with depression and anxiety growing as air quality declines. Among those suffering from psychosis or mood disorders.
Impacts on Air Quality
Both indoors and outdoors, the air we breathe is impacted by climatic changes. Asthma attacks and other respiratory and cardiovascular health issues can result from poor air quality. Which can be exacerbated by rising temperatures and changing weather patterns. Wildfires produce smoke and other harmful air pollutants. And it is anticipated that their frequency and intensity will continue to rise as a result of climate change.
Warmer temperatures and rising carbon dioxide levels have an impact on airborne allergens like ragweed pollen.
Approximately 57 million Americans lived in areas that did not satisfy national air quality requirements. As of 2014, despite the fact that air quality in the US has significantly improved since the 1970s. Future governments may find it much more difficult to satisfy. These criteria due to climate change, potentially exposing more people to harmful air.
Asthma and Allergen Triggers Have Changed
Nearly one-third of Americans, or over 34 million people, have allergies including hay fever. Over 34 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma. Climate change may affect allergies and respiratory health. The spring pollen season has already started earlier. Than usual in the United States for a number of plant species. And it has gotten longer for other species, such ragweed, whose pollen causes severe allergic reactions. Ragweed may have a longer pollen season. Due to rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels. Which will also cause the plant to bloom earlier, develop more flowers, and generate more pollen.
Although it is obvious that climate change affects human health. Many climate-sensitive health hazards are still challenging to forecast in terms of their breadth and severity. But as research advances. We can better determine the severity of these health issues. And correlate a rise in disease and mortality to human-caused global warming.
The short to medium term health effects of climate change will be greatly influenced by the sensitivity of people. Their resistance to the current rate of climate change, and the breadth and pace of adaptation. The extent to which revolutionary action is taken now to reduce emissions. Avert the breach of dangerous temperature thresholds. And maybe mitigate other long-term effects will increasingly determine