In an article published in the US-based The Atlantic newspaper, Dr. (MD) Paul Epstein, Harvard Medical School's associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment, highlighted several key ways that humanity is already being harmed by climate change effects.
These include a rise in heat-related illnesses and deaths; increased incidence of other diseases such as asthma, allergies, and infectious conditions; impact to humans through increased diseases in crops, forests, and marine life; and food insecurity.
Dr. Epstein explained that in addition to overall global temperature rise, nighttimes are also far less cool, while the added water vapor in the warmer atmosphere has made recent heat waves even deadlier.
Regarding the spread of infectious diseases, the author pointed out that their ranges are expanding faster than modeled projections. Warming and extreme weather have also contributed to marine life disease. For instance, in 2004 cruise-ship travelers were sickened by eating Vibrio bacteria-infected oysters from warming Alaskan waters.
Similarly, harmful algal blooms, which are the source of many of the world’s 350-plus dead zones, have been spreading in coastal environments, causing direct human harm as well as contaminating shellfish with toxins.
Finally, Dr. Epstein described how demands for resource-intensive meat, along with adverse weather events such as the recent East African drought are causing food shortages, food price increases, and consequent malnutrition, leading to further disease vulnerability and even potential conflict.
Our appreciation, Dr. Paul Epstein for this summary alert of how our health is endangered by the combined impacts of climate change.
May we rapidly halt the onset of these threats to our well-being and the planet through the actions needed to cool our planet. During a June 2011 videoconference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai explained the best way to stop climate change and prevent its impacts to both our health and the Earth.
Sources: The Atlantic