To further describe the featured image… Burning fossil fuels has caused temperatures to increase throughout recent years. As this happens, small communities or minority communities tend to receive negative health impacts and poor air/water quality. We must change this unsustainable human habit.
Climate Change & Environmental Justice
We must not forget the grave social consequences of climate change. It is the poorest who suffer the worst consequences. Therefore … the issue of climate change is a matter of justice; it is also a question of solidarity, that must never be separated from justice. … Science and technology place an unprecedented power in our hands: it is our duty to humanity as a whole, and in particular the poorest and future generations, to use it for the common good.Pope Francis
The impacts driven by climate change will only continue to worsen, leaving minorities, and communities within specific areas vulnerable to illness and harm.
For example, Americans that are Black, Indigenous and LatinX are actually three times more likely to die of COVID than whites. So, many of the reasons that caused these communities of color to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic are the same reasons that they are or will be hit hardest by the impacts of climate change.
Additionally, disadvantaged communities have higher rates of health conditions like asthma. Therefore, rising temperatures could trigger these individuals greatly.
Even extreme weather events will take their toll on disadvantaged households that are more vulnerable to power outages, damage, and water issues. Plus, severe weather events can cause injuries and deaths. Therefore, communities in coastal areas need proper health care, medicines, and health insurance. Unfortunately, many communities are usually deprived of these necessary resources.
All of the previously stated facts are why environmental justice must be fought for. Climate change is not going to just go away, so we need to protect the most vulnerable individuals and communities from its future impacts.
What Threats To Human Health Will Climate Change Continue To Bring?
Climate change affects many social and environmental determinants of health like clean air, sufficient food, safe drinking water, and secure shelter. These are all necessary for human survival, which shows why fighting climate change should be a priority.
Deaths from malnutrition, malaria, and other diseases, as well as heat stress and natural disasters will and already do, cause harm to human health. Extreme weather, like high temperatures, contribute to death from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, particularly in elders. High temperatures also increase pollen and other aeroallergens, which trigger individuals with asthma.
For some examples, the heat wave of the summer of 2003 in Europe, over 70k deaths were recorded. Also, around 300 million people around the world are affected by Asthma, so they will all be vulnerable to this specific impact (rising temperatures) of climate change.
Truly, everyone is at risk for being affected by climate change. However, it’s especially urgent to fight specifically for those who are more vulnerable than others. This includes children in poorer countries, elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions, and those living in areas with weak infrastructure.
What’s Causing This Rapid Increase In Climate Change?
According to “Climate Change and Health” from the World Health Organization, climate change results from the burning of fossil fuels by humans.
If businesses and industries refuse to reduce their carbon footprint, climate change will negatively impact humans, as well as the environment.
Over the last 50 years, excessively large amounts of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, have been released into the atmosphere causing additional heat to be trapped in the lower atmosphere. This is also known as The Greenhouse Effect. Fossil fuels are literally over-heating the globe.
This is a much bigger problem than most would assume. The urgency for action to reduce these threats are beneficial to all living organisms on this planet.
Early Signs Of The Climate Crisis
The signs of the problem have been overall pretty slow, but in recent years, there’s been rapid increases. The temperatures are rising, the sea levels are rising, rainfall patterns are changing, glaciers are melting, severe floods are overwhelming some regions and heavy downpours are occurring more often.
So, What Can Be Done To Reduce Climate Change?
Climate change is an ongoing issue throughout the world that is increasing greatly due to human impact. If this generation of humans fails to resolve the huge issue of climate change, then large amounts of people, as well as the planet, will suffer greatly.
So, what can be done to protect humans, and the environment, from the major impacts of climate change?
Carbon Capture And Storage
To lessen the possible harm that will come from climate change, humans must actively participate in the reduction of carbon emissions. For instance, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fuel combustion through “Carbon Capture And Storage.”
According to “EIT Climate-KIC supported report…” by the Climate-KIC, “Carbon Capture And Storage” means that carbon dioxide is captured from industrial “smokestacks” and then utilized as an alternative carbon source for production of chemicals. This process would be satisfactory in the need of somewhat decreasing carbon emissions. However, runoff from smokestacks or other nearby sources could enter oceans and mess with the acid levels. Therefore, Carbon Capture And Storage is on the path to an efficient solution but it’s not ideal.
Reforestation & Afforestation
Other solutions that are more natural and eco-friendly are reforestation and afforestation. This would be implemented by planting new trees (afforestation) and restoring old trees (reforestation.) Therefore, helping to stabilize the climate with reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Also, trees are known as the “world’s only natural air conditioners”, meaning that more trees would prevent warmer temperatures.
Reforestation includes replanting trees in areas that have been depleted. This process allows forest structures to develop and provides a canopy for benefiting carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, clean and abundant water, and much more.
Afforestation introduces trees and tree seedlings to areas that have not been forested before. Reforestation can be considered a form of afforestation because they both provide similar benefits to the environment. Although, afforestation is often used for commercial purposes.
These solutions are worth considering for the state of the Earth, and the billions of people on it.
When humans choose to lessen their carbon footprint, an abundance of communities and ecosystems will be saved from the threats of climate change. If the decision is made to implement solutions like the ones previously stated, then hope for the future may be restored. Acting before this challenge would not only protect the environment, but all the humans within it.
There’s no telling what exact health impacts could occur, but is it really worth the risk after seeing what one pandemic has done?
Extreme weather will increase causing harm to many communities. Children will face more illnesses and deaths. Elderly will become even more vulnerable to harm.
Overall, humans are the most careless when it comes to their actions on the environment. The economy is almost always put first. However, the time is near when humans will endure the consequences of climate change if a change isn’t made to their unsustainable habits.
We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to.Terri Swearingen
Within all of this knowledge provided, it’s most emphasized that climate change isn’t something that’ll just affect some random species. It’s not something that has just happened recently or abruptly. It’s been talked about and discussed on multiple occasions but constantly seems to be the unsung topic with little motivation for change.
Clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter are all necessities to survival; which would all be threatened if climate change continues on this current path. If action is not taken, individuals will suffer greatly and differently all over the world.
We cannot allow the same halted progress that’s been observed with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
We need to save our planet now.
We can not quarantine from what’s headed our way.
Thanks For Reading!
Most information within this article comes from multiple forms of research from the sources listed below. It’s always encouraged to do further research and explore some of the sources used to create this article! Additionally, I’m still studying environmental studies so I’m just sharing what I think is important for readers to learn!
Thank you for reading and helping to bring awareness to the climate crisis! If you have any questions or comments, contact me via email or social media! It is extremely urgent to prevent climate change, so be sure to do your part!
Climate Change and Health.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/climate-change-and-health.
“Extreme-Weather” National Climate Assessment, nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/report-findings/extreme-weather.
“EIT Climate-KIC Supported Report Shows How to Reduce Industrial CO2 Emissions.” Climate, 22 May 2019, http://www.climate-kic.org/news/how-to-reduce-industrial-co2/.
Rinkesh, A true environmentalist by heart. Founded Conserve Energy Future… “What Is Afforestation? Importance and Advantages of Afforestation.” Conserve Energy Future, 13 May 2020, http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/importance-advantages-afforestation.php.
“Climate Solutions.” Union of Concerned Scientists, http://www.ucsusa.org/climate/solutions.
22, Renee Cho |September, and Renee Cho. “Why Climate Change Is an Environmental Justice Issue.” State of the Planet, 16 Sept. 2020, blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2020/09/22/climate-change-environmental-justice/.