As climate change is affecting the environment, we are not left out. The effects of climate change on human are already happening in many regions.
I’ve heard people say climate change is an “environment thing” and they aren’t bothered because “what has the environment got to do with me?”
Humans may be the most affected group when it comes to climate change, and this is what most people don’t know and understand.
In this third part of the climate change series, we’ll be looking at the effects of climate change on human – you and I.
These effects are listed in groups and are related to each other.
In case you missed it:
When it comes to climate change, there is a change in global distribution of water. Either the ground gets too dry or the ground gets too wet.
In regions where water is naturally scarce, with climate change the effect is doubled if not tripled.
The ground is “drier” than normal, causing prolonged drought.
With this happening, people in such region don’t stand a chance of having access to water. You know what that means? No water for agriculture which means no food. No water for drinking. I mean, I don’t need to tell you how important water is. We all know.
The dry condition also makes it easy for dust storms and wildfires to occur, and this is not good for the respiratory system.
In regions where there’s no drought, there’s bound to be rainfall.
Not just the normal natural occurring rainfall, but abnormally heavy rainfall.
Let’s look at it on different sides.
Ice caps are melting due to the warming and water is no longer locked up in the ice.
On another side, sea levels are rising.
You see there’s just one end product.
With flooding lives are lost, properties and buildings are destroyed, food crops can’t be grown on land, and so on.
It’s already happening!
- Water-borne diseases
With extreme rainfall events, pathogen contained in animal and human faeces are washed into water bodies from the ground or overflown sewer. Water is now polluted and this gives you free access to every form of water borne disease.
- Vector borne diseases
Drought or rainfall, when it comes to vector borne diseases like malaria, mosquitoes are good either way.
With drought, we’re forced to store water in containers. You know what this means? Breeding ground for mosquitoes.
With rainfall, there’s even more breeding ground.
The warm temperature also favours reproduction, speeding up their growth. In areas with little to no cases, more cases will be seen due to the favourable conditions created as a result of climate change.
- Extreme Heat
While we’re pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we’re “turning up” the temperature. Summers are getting hotter and longer. With this comes serious heat waves, heat stroke, heat exhaustion.
This extreme heat can also fuel fires, drought and damage crops. All of which isn’t good.
- Respiratory problems:
Climate change has created a favourable condition for fires. With wildfires happening here and there, lots of toxic stuff like particulate matter, acrolein, benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and so on are released. You know where these things go? Your lungs. My lungs. Our lungs.
Our air quality is already affected by this and people are faced with respiratory problems like asthma, airway congestion, chest pain, inflammation of the lung, and many more. People with already existing respiratory conditions may be faced with worsening conditions.
Warming temperatures and the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide promotes pollen production, increasing the amount produced and prolonging pollen season. The warming also favours the growth of allergy-inducing plants.
Extreme rainfall events results in damp environment which promotes mold formation. With all these happening comes allergic reactions and more respiratory problems.
Climate change is favouring the growth of crop pest, ocean acidification, drought, flooding, and this is affecting our food sources. Global food security is now threatened as climate change is affecting production, availability, access and food quality.
With this effect, lots of people will be malnourished and others pushed towards unhealthydiets. There’s a big dietary shift to the next available option which is highly processed and caloric foods, and this isn’t the right choice. This comes with nutritional deficiencies and other diseases.
From all the wildfires, water shortage, flooding and food shortage happening here and there, what happens next is migration. More than 200milion people have been forced to migrate due to extreme weather events since 2008.
There is an increase in climate refugees, and this also leads to trauma among the distressed migrants which can contribute to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
Nutritional deficiencies are also common among forced migrants. People are prone to infectious diseases due to overcrowding in camps and lack of basic sanitary infrastructures. Some may even lose access to their meds.
So yeah, now you know the effects of climate change on human – you and I.
Climate change isn’t a future problem. It’s today’s problem. It’s already happening and will only get worse if we don’t act NOW.