January 20, 2011

The rising effects of climate change on public health

In “The Coming Health Crisis,” an article published in “The Scientist,” Samuel S. Myers, MD and Aaron Bernstein, MD of Harvard Medical School in the USA discuss the effects on humans of what they call direct and indirect climate change.

Direct effects, which the authors say are more quantifiable, include the spread of infectious disease, along with increasing heat stress and air pollution effects such as heat stroke and respiratory illness. Indirect effects, which include water and food insecurities along with the forced migration of climate refugees, the authors cite as being even more problematic since they pose the greatest challenge to public health.

Drs. Myers and Bernstein note that although the exact effects may not be known, humanity should still strive to minimize adverse health impacts. Their report states, “With evidence that climate change is already imposing a hefty health burden, the future climate, particularly if greenhouse-gas releases into the atmosphere go unabated, portends health crises for hundreds of millions of people. Rather than be used as a rationale for inaction, the uncertainty inherent in climate science should serve as an organizing principle for adaptation to its ill effects.”

They suggest such adaptations as developing new crop strains for better food security as well as significantly increasing water storage capacity in areas where supplies are unstable.

Our appreciation, Drs. Myers and Bernstein, for raising awareness about the need to protect public health in the face of potentially devastating climate change. Let us act now in seeking more sustainable lifestyles to avoid such harmful outcomes and restore the Earth's natural balance.

During a November 2010 video message presented at a climate change conference in the United Kingdom, Supreme Master Ching Hai made an urgent plea for action on behalf of humanity and indeed, all the vulnerable beings on the planet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I'm afraid the reality now is already too urgent. Scientists say that water security for about 80% of the world's people is threatened due to drying and polluted river systems, shrinking glaciers from South America to the Himalayas, and groundwater levels that fall lower and lower each year. In 2009, for the first time, the number of people suffering from hunger exceeded 1 billion, while disasters threatened the food security of many more.

So please consider what is really at stake now, what is really our foremost, urgent priority at the present time. It's not just political reputation or economy - it's the lives, real lives, of all inhabitants on Earth: humans, animals, plants, trees, etc.

An organic vegan diet would immensely improve the quality of our lives; spiritually also. It can curb the water and food crises and restore nature's life-support systems. It also happens to be the most rapid, cost-effective, and the only feasible climate solution, one that every nation can easily implement.

http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/57882/#ixzz19vju8cHq

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