Climate change is a topic that is being widely discussed in the media recently, and for good reason. Flooding from melting polar ice caps, extreme heat from increased greenhouse gasses in Earth’s atmosphere, and the destruction of forests to gather resources have created significant negative health effects on humans. These are just a few examples of the negative relationship between climate change and human health. Understanding the effects of climate change on human health and how does climate change affect human health is crucial because climate change affects everyone on Earth. It is not something that is a first-world problem, where only people in developed countries understand and are affected by it. Climate change, no matter what your race, religion, or identity is, has been shown to negatively affect your health.
While there are many effects on human health from climate change, I will focus on how climate change affects asthma, disease, and famine among humans. Asthma that has been a growing effect of climate change is most common in children, as the lungs of a child have poor ventilation, and are more susceptible to asthma causing pollutants like ozone, as opposed to adult lungs, who have better ventilation of the lungs. Ozone has been found to be a cause of asthma, where an increase of temperature and change in wind patterns can cause an elevated ozone exposure to humans on the surface. With climate change, natural disasters are becoming more frequent, especially wind-related natural disasters like hurricanes and cyclones. The high winds from these natural disasters can increase air pollutants like dirt and pollen, which have been shown to increase asthma and asthmatic-related hospital visits in certain areas.
Climate change can help diseases that are isolated to a certain area spread, or even bring once rare disease into circulation. When the climate changes, the area of a disease’s impact can change as well. This means that diseases can spread, as climate change could create an environment that the disease can thrive in. With this effect on disease and the regions that they cover, different regions could be at severe risk to the disease if said disease spreads to them, due to the region not being properly vaccinated for the disease since it was not prevalent until climate change spread it to new areas. A specific case where diseases have spread to completely different regions is where a woman in the Pacific Northwest died from an infection from Cryptococcus gattii, which is a yeast that is found in warmer climates like Australia, Asia, and Africa. The explanation of a disease being unheard of in a specific environment can be linked to climate change. An increase in annual temperatures could allow some diseases that are linked to warmer climates to survive in regions that they were originally not associated with.
Famine is a growing issue, due to climate change restricting agricultural production and a growing world population. The people most at risk of famine are those living in poverty and/or those who live in underdeveloped countries. Climate change would bring increased natural disasters, like flooding and cyclones, and also increase temperatures world-wide. This would result in less crops being able to be harvested and a decrease in food produced by countries. It is predicted that in 2025, low-income countries will face deficits in food, producing just under 17,000 million tons of food per year, while needing almost 40,000 million tons of food. The lack of food in the future decades due to climate change will cause malnutrition among many in these impoverished countries and increase the mortality rate with it. By 2050, it has been predicted that food production will need to increase by 70% to support the world population, but with crops being a heavily affected form of nutrition for poorer countries, and a growing population, the use of livestock for food will increase. This will help make up for crops dying off due to climate change. With this increase of reliance on livestock for food, resources like water and land will be needed to accommodate the livestock. These efforts are being put in place to help reduce the chance of widespread famine if food shortages run low in the future.
To find information on my topic, I examined scholarly articles. I used literary and textual analysis on these scholarly articles that I found to be relevant to select my information carefully. The scholarly articles that I used were found on the University of Arizona library’s website search. While searching, I made sure to only use articles that were scholarly or peer reviewed, and also articles that have been published within the past 10 years.
I am using scholarly articles because I find that they provide the most relevant information, while being widely accessible. Many of the sources I used had lots of numerical data, and even graphical data with them. Since I do not have the resources nor the time available to conduct the research myself, it is the most viable way to gather information on my topic. Using these methods and sources in my paper allows me to relay quality information to the readers.
The potential outcome for my research paper is for people to gain a better understanding of what climate change can do to humans. Most people think that climate change really only affects the environment and animals, but if those things are damaged by climate change, humans will eventually feel the impact. Climate change shows the most impact on human health among those in who live in third world countries. This is because that the people in these underdeveloped countries rely much more on their environment for resources like water and crops, but with climate change, disease and famine are becoming much more common. It is easy for someone living in a modern country like America to not know or feel the effects of climate change, due to better healthcare, better sanitation, and a surplus of food.
Overall, a greater consideration for those who are affected by climate change, and the passion to prevent climate change from occurring even more than it already is, is what the research I have done could do.