On the impact of climate change on human health
Did you know that climate change had an impact on your health? 👩⚕️🤢
Increased heat can lower productivity, increase death rates (especially when people are operating very close to the kind of temperature threshold the human body can tolerate, as seen in India and Pakistan in 2022).
Likewise, more frequent extreme weather events due to climate change can impact food production, which is bad news given that there are now more than 8 billion people to feed on this planet. Not only can climate change impact crops (fewer crops to harvest) but it also impacts their nutritional states (i.e., less micronutrients) which is a great concern, especially as we look at the number of people already suffering from micronutrient deficiencies.
And... this is not it. The list is long, unfortunately. Climate change also changes the incidence of all sorts of infectious diseases. How? Well, think about it that way: some regions which used to be humid will become dry and vice and versa, that means populations of vectors like mosquitos will migrate and evolve, which may change the patterns in malaria, dengue and many other diseases. 🦗
This all looks doom and gloom, and, yes, sure, it is not great... But you know what the good news is? Climate action and measures to mitigate climate change can improve human health! 🙌
“How?” You may ask.
Let’s look at transports for instance.
If you decide to ride your bicycle 🚲 , take public transport 🚇 , or walk 🚶♀️ to work instead of taking your car, you’re moving! You’re exercising more than if you just sat in your car right after leaving your house. Exercise is good for your health, and in doing so, you also become part of the solution against climate change at the same time (less harmful pollution etc, but also remember that: fewer people using their cars, means less demand on oil, means bad news for oil companies which see some of their profits go away 📉. On the other side: more demand for public transport means, more investment in this sector, means better transports etc. 📈).
For more information on this fascinating topic, check our latest interview on OCRA where we discussed with Andy Haines from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.