Climate activity is good for your health

Burning coal, oil, and gas in cars, factories, power plants, and homes causes a variety of health problems, including asthma, heart attack, stroke, and respiratory disease. In 2018, 1 in 5 of them died worldwide, according to a study by Harvard University and others.

But pollution isn’t the only thing that puts health and lives at risk. Climate change from burning fossil fuels is also wreaking havoc on human health. A recent review of “more than 77,000 research articles, reports and books on the record of infectious diseases affected by climate disasters exacerbated by greenhouse gas emissions” found that most were published after 2000. turned out to be caused or exacerbated by climate change. – Communicable diseases and conditions, including his 58% of all infections.

Research published in nature climate change In early August, we examined 10 hazards caused by climate change, including droughts, floods, heatwaves, wildfires, storms, sea level rise, and changes in natural land cover.

Global warming, changes in precipitation, and habitat disruption are bringing disease vectors and pathogens closer to humans. These include dengue, chikungunya, plague, Lyme disease, West Nile virus, Zika, trypanosomiasis, echinococcosis and malaria. Most are spread by vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and birds, but direct contact, waterborne, airborne and foodborne diseases are also increasing. In addition to infectious diseases, studies have found that global warming also increases levels of plant and fungal allergens.

Climate disruption may also make some pathogens more virulent and more transmissible, while at the same time “factors such as psychological stress, weakened immune systems and malnutrition reduce the number of people coping with infectious diseases.” It weakens your ability.”

Previous research has shown that deforestation and habitat loss bring animals carrying viruses such as COVID-19 closer to humans and livestock, increasing the risk of pandemics. Pollution from burning fossil fuels can also exacerbate the symptoms of diseases such as COVID, as it is a respiratory disease.

The consequences are beyond sickness, suffering and death.of nature climate change A study found that “the cumulative financial cost of the COVID-19 pandemic could reach $16 trillion in the United States alone.”

Climate change is also having a serious impact on mental health around the world. According to a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation, the number of people experiencing, having their livelihoods threatened or simply watching climate-related disasters global warming has been shown to increase stress, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide. A crisis unfolds.

Like physical ailments and climate change itself, these mental health challenges not only affect young people in particular, but also people in agricultural and indigenous communities, marginalized people with limited access to resources. .

A 2021 study found that mental health conditions affect at least one billion people worldwide and cost trillions of dollars each year, adding to the burden of climate-related issues. rice field. Impacts are likely to be “despite the severe consequences, as this has been a neglected area of ​​research and is therefore likely to be significantly underestimated,” and that “without meaningful intervention, it will worsen and affect health and social outcomes.” It causes and exacerbates inequalities, which themselves worsen mental health.”

For physical illness nature climate change “The sheer number of pathogenic diseases and transmission pathways exacerbated by climate disasters highlights the magnitude of the threat to human health posed by climate change and the urgent need for aggressive action to mitigate GHG emissions. I am making it clear.”

Mental health research says that efforts to tackle climate change will have greater than expected benefits “to prevent or mitigate adverse mental health impacts that have not yet been considered in policies and budgets.” It also notes that engaging in actions to reduce or prevent the threat of climate change can improve mental health.

Emma Lawrence, of Imperial College London, said: “Taking action on climate change appears to be very positive for mental health, both on an individual and community scale, but also as a society. Spending time inside is also beneficial.

As I and others have long pointed out, we are part of nature and what we do to nature is what we do to ourselves. Healthy people cannot exist without the Earth. We must do everything to reduce the use of fossil fuels and all energy consumption, protect and restore natural areas.

Get involved and get out in nature. You’ll feel better while helping the planet!

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Contributed by Ian Hanington, senior his writer and editor at the David Suzuki Foundation.Click here for details

Climate activity is good for your health

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