By Daria Romanik
Phew! What a sigh of relief. The Australian government has started hesitantly murmuring about cutting CO2 emissions. Or are they just finding it hard to digest their coffees? Anyway, you know what this means right? They are finally admitting to the fact that climate change due to greenhouse emissions is one of the major issues affecting global health! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the scientists were right all along.
The links between climate change and health have now long been explored, researched and investigated by organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). They have come up with a list of the major ways that climate change will impact on health. Here are some highlights:
1. Extreme heat
What’s interesting here is not only that increased heat leads to heat stress on the human body but:
Increased heat in the atmosphere = increased energy in the atmosphere = pollens in the atmosphere can spread faster and further.
This leads to worsening asthma and other respiratory conditions.
2. Air pollution
Speaking of respiratory conditions… WHO quotes that air pollution contributes to 1/8 deaths worldwide.
3. Natural disasters and variable rainfall pattern
We all know that there will be more droughts, more floods and worse cyclones but what does this mean? This means that we can’t rely on the seasons as we used to in order to grow our food, water sources become contaminated and countries with poor infrastructure will be destroyed in worsening storms.
This heightens the huge divide between poor and wealthy as it is the developing countries that will be worst hit and millions more will die from malnutrition, diarrhoeal illness and disasters.
Mosquito viruses will spread as the mosquito finds more warm locations to breed and spread as will diarrhoeal illness from contaminated water.
It all sounds like death and gloom but the good news is that we can adapt and mitigate! There is still hope to make changes and with Australia being number 8 in the world for greenhouse gas emissions per capita (according to the CDIAC) we really can make an impact.
And, because others are busy digesting coffee, it’s up to us to do it.