Climate change isn’t just hurting the planet: it’s a public health emergency

Climate change isn’t just hurting the planet: it’s a public health emergency

When the doctor tells you that your cholesterol is too high, you tend to listen and change your diet. When the world’s climate scientists tell us that temperatures are rising to dangerous levels, we should heed their advice. It’s time to give up climate change, it’s bad for our health.

I’m not talking about the health of our planet or the health of species such as the polar bear, so often associated with climate change – though they are suffering. I’m talking about human health. The health of you, your family, your neighbours – each and every one of us.

A report just published in the Lancet from the specially created Lancet Countdown initiative, reveals just how bad climate change is for public health. The diagnosis reveals that hundreds of millions of people are already suffering the health impacts of climate change. Its insidious creep is being felt in multiple ways: rising temperatures are hastening the spread of infectious diseases; crop yields are becoming uneven and unpredictable, worsening the hunger and malnourishment for some of the most vulnerable people on the planet; allergy seasons are getting longer; and at times it is simply too hot for farmers to work in the fields.

Typhoons and hurricanes, such as Harvey, feed off unnaturally warm waters to deliver more forceful threats to human health, including to life itself. The attribution of climate change as a contributing factor in such events is of course complex. The Lancet report’s analysis – that there has been a 46% increase in extreme weather disasters since 2000 – helps to cut through any confusion.

Source: The Guardian

Date: November 2017

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