How does climate change affect the human body and health?

Hot summers exacerbate drought, and drought is known to be an ideal environment for raging wildfires. But fires are only one of the consequences of global warming; Climate change is also causing floods, heavy rains and heat-related deaths. In fact, the climate crisis has already led to a widespread public health crisis. July 2019 was the hottest July in history; September 2019 was the hottest in history; January 2020 was the hottest in history; May 2020 was the hottest in history, etc. This is not a coincidence. This is a pattern. According to Scientific American, carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, has increased 9% since 2005 and 31% since 1950.

The special report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also noted that our planet has already warmed up by about one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The authors of the report stress the urgent need to take action to limit the rise in average temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius and that a two-degree rise in temperature will lead to unprecedented extreme heat, water and food shortages worldwide.

Climate change and health

Temperature and in particular heat affects every part of the human body. High temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion, heatstroke, anxiety, impaired cognition, and even premature death from heart and lung disease. Around the world, the health problems associated with the climate crisis are gaining increasing recognition.

Scientific American author Niilu Tummala, a physician at the George Washington University of Medicine, is studying the impact of the climate crisis on health. For example, in addition to contributing to global warming, rising carbon dioxide levels increase the amount of pollen that plants produce as a result of higher rates of photosynthesis. This increase in pollen levels can worsen allergy symptoms. Read more about this in our material.

Climate change has been shown to have a negative impact on the health of children around the world in numerous scientific studies

Another example is fine particulate matter (known as PM2.5) associated with air pollution, most of which is associated with the burning of fossil fuels that contribute to warming. When we breathe in these particles, they travel down the airways and settle in tiny air sacs called lung alveoli, causing inflammation and potentially worsening asthma symptoms. The explanations are simple, but the health risks are widespread and complex.

Thus, the climate crisis leads to a disproportionate public health crisis – and worse, it is a threat multiplier. While many people around the world are facing economic hardship, the continuing heatwaves and the higher electricity bills they cause threaten access to water and energy security.

Political crisis

According to the author of the article, the climate crisis was unfairly called political, although in fact the general public admits (at least in Europe and the United States) that something needs to be done about it. Even among those seemingly unaffected, there is growing recognition that if climate change continues unchecked, there is no guarantee that in the future they will live in a protected community where they will receive skilled medical care.

Forest fires are a serious threat to the health of not only animals, but also humans

Unfortunately, there will be no vaccine against the climate crisis either in six months or in a year. The only cure is collective climate action in the present.

Let me remind you that in 2019, 11 thousand scientists from around the world signed a collective appeal, which states that inaction in relation to the climate crisis can lead human civilization to death. I wrote in more detail in this article.

It is for this reason that global leaders must be urged to take urgent action to combat climate change. That being said, climate action can be as simple as training – this includes eating less meat, turning off electronics, saving water, and sorting waste. It is important to understand that the climate crisis is our common problem and it is time to start healing the planet in order to ultimately heal each other.

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