Climate change is occurring at a faster rate than anticipated, but what does that mean for us? Firstly, it means that we should expect a plethora of issues. This is primarily because climate change can contribute to serious problems such as an increase in poverty, environmental degradation and the weakening of fragile governments. Furthermore, extreme weather events are predicted to affect water resources, causing drought, flooding and rising sea levels.
All of these changes may affect food and energy production. One of the most concerning issues is an increase in the prevalence of infectious disease causing negative impacts on human health.
Infectious disease rates are expected to rise since warmer temperatures are favourable growth conditions for bacteria, viruses, and mosquito vectors. Examples include Malaria, Lyme Disease, and Yellow Fever.
In fact a recently published review courtesy of British Medical Journal even discussed some potential human health impacts due to increasing temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and climate change.
Another major concern of climate change will be limited access to food and safe water, limited power production and decreased sanitation. There will be mass migration and competition for remaining resources. All of these factors have negative implications of human health and may increase the rates of starvation, especially amongst people living in remote areas.
The world’s population is currently estimated at 6.1 billion but it is projected to increase to 8.9 billion people by 2050. Urbanization will increase transmission of infectious disease because people are living in close proximity to one another. Furthermore, any natural disaster event that causes damage to infrastructure will have a larger impact, affecting even more people because of resource shortages.
The only way to prevent all of this from occurring is to shift to renewable energy sources and investing in better building infrastructure and new technologies that that will help decrease green house gas emissions. After all, like all good medicine, prevention is key!