The Health Impacts of Global Warming You May Not Know
Most of the discourse around global warming includes talk of how it will affect weather patterns, species and wildlife, food production, and conditions like drought and flooding. But what about human health? You may have heard that climate change is going to increase heat-related deaths, or that mosquito-borne illnesses will spread into new, previously uninhabited climates. But there are many other ways that a changing environment can affect our health.
Natural Disasters and Mental Health Are Coinciding
As climate change is causing the earth to warm up, it also affects humans and other living things.
We’ve heard the statistics. Global warming is happening, and it’s going to affect the planet in both positive and negative ways.
But how are these changes affecting human health? In other words, how does global warming affect our daily lives?
It turns out that we don’t have to look far for answers. Natural disasters, extreme weather events and other environmental changes are already having a drastic impact on human health. Both physically and mentally.
Research shows that experiencing a natural disaster can increase the risk of developing mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
In fact, people who live in areas prone to flooding or landslides have an increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Floods, wildfires, and heat waves are destroying homes, displacing families and causing serious illnesses.
In fact, according to a report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), extreme weather events will increase in frequency as temperatures rise over time. Which means more natural disasters that could have serious consequences for our health.
What Happens When the Weather Changes?
Global warming is an epidemic with more than just one victim. While it is commonly known that global warming will impact the environment, natural wildlife, and weather patterns, many people do not realise how it also harms human health.
This increase in temperature causes new or rare diseases to spread among populations. These diseases are likely to affect a larger number of people as the globe warms up because of the increase in wetness and the spread of mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes thrive in warm and wet environments. They lay their eggs in standing water, where they hatch into larvae that feed on organic matter.
As the temperature rises, mosquitoes will become more active, increasing their chances of spreading diseases like dengue fever and malaria.
Dengue fever is caused by a virus spread by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes — two species native to tropical and subtropical regions.
The disease has spread rapidly across the globe since its emergence in Cuba in 1902. It has now become endemic in more countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.
– Malaria is one of the deadliest diseases on this planet. It can lead to death within 24 hours, if not treated quickly. It is caused by parasites, which are transmitted through mosquitoes from person to person.
With warmer temperatures, the mosquitoes thrive better and thus spread malaria faster than before.
Global Warming Is Affecting Our Sea Food
Warmer water temperatures make it easier for pathogens to grow in the ocean. This means that illnesses such as cholera or other diarrheal illnesses can potentially be contracted by eating contaminated fish or shellfish.
The warmer water creates a less stable environment for fish eggs, which can result in small fish with low growth rates. Researchers also found that when it comes to size, fish are growing more slowly or not at all.
For the first time in human history, there are more plastic particles in the sea than there are stars in our galaxy.
The world’s oceans are a swirling mass of plastic: fish nets, microbeads, cigarette butts and other trash that litters beaches and seafloors alike.
And now, it seems, global warming is making it worse.
Researchers found that rising temperatures could accelerate the breakdown of ocean plastic by up to 12 times within decades. That means there will be even more microplastic particles entering our food chain and ending up on our plates.
A study also found that phytoplankton — microscopic organisms that drift near the ocean surface — interact with tiny pieces of plastic called microplastics.
Phytoplankton consumes carbon dioxide and releases oxygen into the atmosphere as they grow. They also consume tiny particles of organic matter that fall into their habitats.
They are the base of the food chain for many marine species and play an important role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
As temperatures rise, there is less phytoplankton growth which means less oxygen produced by plants on land and in water bodies.
Climate Change Will Increase Heat-Related Deaths
Higher temperatures, especially during heatwaves, increase heat-related illnesses and deaths. Many people are unaware of their own vulnerability to heat stress, and this lack of awareness can lead to death.
Can you feel it? The sun is beating down on our heads, and the air is warm. Take a minute to think about what this means on a global scale.
No really, go stand outside for a bit. This weather is a foreshadowing of what’s to come. Temperatures are rising at an alarming rate and have caused several major issues recently.
We’re all aware of climate change, but do we realise its full effects yet?
Elevated levels of carbon dioxide and longer exposure to high temperatures will exacerbate what is known as heat waves.
Those two factors will lead to more deaths from heart attacks, strokes and breathing problems. Especially among the elderly and poor in the coming decades.
When it comes to climate change effects, few are as well understood — or more deadly — than the impact of heat and humidity on human health.
At a time when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are high and rising rapidly, humanity’s exposure to dangerously hot temperatures is growing.
Climate change will have an apocalyptic impact, but not in the way that we usually think of it. Rather than causing the end of the world, climate change may make it more likely that you die sooner than you otherwise would.
Land, Homes and Livelihoods Are at Risk
We are seeing extreme weather events from floods to drought, cyclones to landslides, that put people’s homes, land, and livelihoods at risk.
As weather events like floods, droughts and heatwaves are becoming more frequent, people’s lives are being turned upside down. Land and homes which were once fertile and productive can become worthless.
It isn’t just the loss of livelihoods that incurs either – there are also major health implications too.
This is because changes in weather such as flooding, droughts, wildfires, and extreme temperatures can have major impacts on public health as well.
The simplest way to understand how these events affect our health is by looking at two key factors: climate change itself and human health.
Climate change is the gradual increase in global temperatures that we have been experiencing over the past century or so, caused by damage to Earth’s natural systems.
Human health refers to how well-being is affected by changes in climate and weather. It includes physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.
Health impacts from climate change come from direct exposure to extreme weather events, such as floods or heat waves. And indirect exposure through food insecurity or reduced economic productivity in agriculture.
Air Pollution Is Leading to More Respiratory Problems
Air pollution is the world’s single largest environmental health risk, responsible for more than one in eight deaths worldwide. It is also the biggest environmental cause of non-communicable diseases such as asthma, stroke, heart disease and cancer.
It’s caused by a variety of sources including traffic fumes, power stations and industry.
And can be measured in different ways: ozone (smog), carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide are some of the most common pollutants.
The most harmful air pollutant is ozone, which can be created by chemical reactions between other pollutants in the air when temperatures rise. When ozone levels rise high enough to affect human health, it’s known as smog.
Ozone exposure can lead to several health problems in adults, including chest pain, coughing and wheezing, asthma attacks, and worsened lung function.
These can lead to premature death from respiratory disease. Children are especially sensitive to ozone’s effects on lung development, including asthma symptoms.
Climate change is causing air pollution to worsen, resulting in more respiratory health problems, including asthma attacks.
Is Your Drinking Water Becoming Unsafe?
Climate change is affecting our planet’s natural systems at an increasingly rapid rate. Perhaps the most common and well-known effect of climate change is the human contribution to environmental pollution or global warming.
However, less common are the health impacts associated with global warming trends. There are many potential problems, some more obvious than others.
Studies confirm that the frequency of intense weather is increasing. And the risk of illness from water-borne contamination is also increasing.
Besides the health risks posed by toxic chemicals, there’s growing concern about those resulting from bacterial contamination.
Unpredictable weather can cause drinking water to become contaminated with bacteria, chemical pollutants, and pesticides. These are finding their way into reservoirs, lakes, and groundwater.
This can lead to a variety of health problems such as diarrhoea and dehydration. Sometimes, it may even result in death if left untreated.
The WHO estimates that over 1 billion people drink contaminated water every day.
In Ghana alone, more than half the population uses surface water as a source of drinking water. Meaning they’re at risk for waterborne diseases like cholera or diarrhoea.
These diseases if left untreated can cause death in a matter of hours.
Global Warming Is Changing Agriculture and Our Food Supply
The changing climate is already starting to have an impact on agricultural production, leading to potential food shortages in many countries.
Rising food prices could lead to malnutrition or starvation in some areas.
One way that global warming is affecting agriculture is by changing precipitation patterns. In some areas, this means less precipitation during the growing season. And other areas are experiencing more intense rainfall events during the growing season.
Both changes can affect crop yields and the overall productivity of crops grown in those regions.
Another way that global warming is affecting agriculture is by increasing the severity of droughts around the world. For example, a recent study found that there will be more frequent droughts over much of Africa by 2050 due to climate change.
This will affect food production and increase prices for crops produced in Africa. Many people depend on these crops for their survival and health.
As temperatures rise crops like wheat, rice and corn will be affected. Some crops may fail altogether as temperatures increase beyond what they can tolerate.
In other cases, yields will drop because of increased water stress from reduced rainfall or increased evaporation.
Global warming can impact many aspects of life as well as human health.
Global warming is a major problem that has been affecting our planet for quite some time now. It is time we take a good look at this issue and see how it impacts us daily.
Global warming can affect your health in many ways. The most obvious ones are heat waves and extreme weather conditions. The weather patterns are changing so much that they are becoming unpredictable.
People are more prone to get sick when they are exposed to extreme weather conditions like floods and droughts. These changes can also lead to water-borne diseases. Another reason why people should be careful about what they eat and drink during these times.
Another effect of global warming is an increase in allergies due to climate change. Plants all over the world are starting to bloom at different times of the year because of climate change.
This means that pollens from these plants are released at different times as well. That’s causing problems among people who suffer from seasonal allergies such as hay fever or asthma.
The climate changes that have been happening are not just a matter of rising temperatures. It’s also about the changes in rainfall patterns and extreme weather events that can be devastating to human health.
While scientists have been warning us about global warming since the 1970s, it’s only recently that the public has started to pay attention to this issue.
The health impacts of global warming are just as serious as their environmental effects.
Global warming is a problem which will have a direct and negative impact on human health. We are already starting to feel the harmful effects right now.
It’s important to realise though that even if you don’t believe in global warming, you should still be interested in the impacts it will have on your health and well-being.
We’ve seen some examples above, but many other studies prove global warming has negative impacts on human health.
As more information is discovered about this issue, we hope that people will become more interested in what is truly happening to our planet to protect both humans and wildlife alike.