Climate change is one of the biggest current concerns worldwide. Several studies support this fact. A call to individual and community action is required to adapt to this change and mitigate impacts on human health. The consequences of climate change are countless.
An increase in temperature is linked to weather-related deaths affecting the most vulnerable in USA such as people living below 200% poverty level more likely to live in houses without air conditioners, people with low educational attainment more likely to work outside, the elderly more than 65 years old more susceptible to cardiac stress due to the heat, and minorities more likely to live in areas with a projection of temperature-related mortality.
Furthermore, climate change is associated or responsible of several negatives’ health outcomes. For example, climate change is associated with an increase in harmful algal blooms that can contaminate shellfish, then, it is also associated to shellfish poisoning. Climate change is associated with an increase of ground level ozone/ particulate matter in some areas. Due to this Increased level of air pollutants, an increase of respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, allergic rhinitis, asthma is observed. so, they are also associated to climate change. Climate change represents a favorable environment for many vector-borne disease such as mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and fleas. They can provoke Malaria, Dengue, Zika, Chagas, Chikungunya, Lyme disease, Leishmaniasis, Schistosomiasis, Japanese encephalitis, coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever), lymphatic filariasis, West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever, and the Plague. They are also associated with climate change. In addition to respiratory and cardiovascular disease, increase intensity and frequency of wildfires which is associated to climate change are also associated with dermatological issues, mental health disorders; immune dysfunction; adverse pregnancy outcomes; sperm damage (Rocque et al. Ioana Agache, 2021, Claudia Di Napoli,2022).
Why is climate change associated to all these negatives health outcomes? Studies show this is because climate change is associated with an increase of natural disasters which is happening more frequently and more violently. Some examples are: the Fukushima’s nuclear disaster, more violent hurricanes, storm surges, droughts, floods, heatwaves, wildfires, landslides, and epidemics including COVID-19, and earthquakes (Saloni Gupta, 2021) (Claudia Di Napoli,2022) (Ioana Agache, 2021). So, if we cannot prevent natural disasters for happening, we should not trigger them. An event that orientated me on the fight on climate change is the Haiti Earthquake 2010.
The 2010 Earthquake was the saddest event I had ever lived in Haiti. On a population of about 11 000 inhabitants, about 300 000 lost their life. Three million people were affected primarily their house was destroyed totally or partially. Nearly 1.2 million were displaced, for several years after. When I began my master’s degree in public health in January 2021, I started to make the connection between climate change and all negatives impact on us and the earth. Before that, I thought most of natural disaster was not so strongly associated to those disasters, and I had never thought deeply about all those consequences.
Today, I understand and feel more concerned about the strong association between climate change and human behavior. I understand if we act more consciously about this fact, we can effectively address climate change linked to most of our problems today. Every contribution to go green is a valuable and responsible act that everyone should feel responsible for. Harmonize ourselves with the nature is the positive reflex that we need to develop. Together, we can make it happen, every act count!!
– Rocque, R. J., Beaudoin, C., Ndjaboue, R., Cameron, L., Poirier-Bergeron, L., Poulin-Rheault, R.-A., Fallon, C., Tricco, A. C., Witteman, H. O., & Ka Shing Knowledge, L. (2021). Health effects of climate change: an overview of systematic reviews. BMJ Open, 11, 46333.
– Agache, I., Sampath, V., Aguilera, J., Akdis, C., Akdis, M., Barry, M., Bouagnon, A., Chinthrajah, S., Collins, W., Dulitzki, C., Erny, B., Gomez, J., Goshua, A., Jutel, M., Kizer, K. W., Kline, O., LaBeaud, A. D., Pali-Schöll, I., Perrett, K. P., … Nadeau, K. C. (2022). Climate change and global health: A call to more research and more action. In Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (Vol. 77, pp. 1389–1407).
– Tareq, A. M., Rakib, A., Sarangi, P. P., Rouse, B. T., & Gupta, S. (2021). Did Climate Change Influence the Emergence, Transmission, and Expression of the COVID-19 Pandemic? Frontiers in Medicine | Www.Frontiersin.Org, 8, 769208
– Napoli, C. Di, Mcgushin, A., Romanello, M., Ayeb-Karlsson, S., Cai, W., Chambers, J., Dasgupta, S., Escobar, L. E., Kelman, I., Kjellstrom, T., Kniveton, D., Liu, Y., Liu, Z., Lowe, R., Martinez-Urtaza, J., Mcmichael, C., Moradi-Lakeh, M., Murray, K. A., Rabbaniha, M., … Robinson, E. J. (2021). Tracking the impacts of climate change on human health via indicators: lessons from the Lancet Countdown. BMC Public Health, 22, 663.
Essay by: Natacha Julceus Fabien
Florida International University