That’s a question I had always wondered about. When we think about climate change, or global warming, we often visualize an image like a polar bear precariously balanced on a small floating patch of ice but, in the bigger picture, can it affect our own health?
The answer is absolutely.
Unfortunately, there are many ways that are often overlooked and never even discussed when we consider climate change. The change in global temperature can have long-term effects on human health because it affects the food we eat, the diseases we get, the disorders we develop, the air we breathe and the water we drink… all the things essential to a healthy body.
Here are just a few concerns to consider if anyone ever thinks this is only an environmental issue:
- Greenhouse gasses can cause respiratory issues and more severe problems for asthma suffers because plants will actually produce more allergens when temperatures increase.
- Extra heat creates more ground-level ozone, and increases pollution, which creates added stress for our heart and lungs.
- Rising temperatures can increase the range of infectious parasites and therefore increase the rate and severity of infectious diseases.
- Weather extremes will increase, resulting in intense heat waves or bouts of bitter cold, resulting in cardiovascular and respiratory disorders.
- Crops can become compromised, decreasing the yield and reducing their nutritional quality.
- Water supplies are reduced along with the quality of water, coupled with an increase of water-borne illnesses.
Research has shown that bugs, plants, animals are all literally moving closer to the poles to escape the increases in heat. Tropical fish have even been found off the coast of Long Island, New York, because of the rise in water temperature.
The next time someone rejects the idea of climate change affecting their lives, remind them that our environment can’t change without changing us too!