Climate change has been an issue in our society for many years. Over the years, we’ve seen an increase in greenhouse gasses as well as human activities that cause pollution. We’ve also been warned of the many adverse effects climate change has, such as rising temperatures, more heatwaves and droughts, and even a rise in sea levels. Besides the 51% increase in greenhouse gasses since 1990, we are now experiencing the health effects of climate change and its ever-growing risks.
Over the next 18 years, people will start encountering some of the negative health effects associated with the worsening climate issues, such as heat stress, which is projected to grow about 75% by the end of the century, and flooding, which is set to increase by 2050. These issues affect crop production, making it harder to make food – more specifically healthy food. By 2050, 183 million more people are expected to go hungry.
Additionally, people with pre-existing health conditions are expected to face these problems. Those with asthma, other lung issues, or on medication may be aggravated by these conditions. An increased risk of pollen can affect another 300 million people with asthma and higher pollution levels put people with lung conditions at a higher risk of experiencing chest pains.
Depending on where you live, climate change can make your healthy living conditions worse. More than 8.6 million Americans live in coastal areas prone to flooding. Flash floods can lead to water damage, which, if not repaired properly, can lead to mold and waterborne disease. For those living somewhere with many wildfires, drier conditions can make it harder to put wildfires out. Between 1984 and 2015, the amount of land and natural resources burned by wildfires doubled.
One question remains: how will the government help people avoid increased food insecurity, mental health issues, health conditions, and a lack of water? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, has constructed reports. These reports include representatives and scientists from governments that allow states to contribute and lay down data that helps us better understand climate change. The IPCC needs to work fast because the climate is only getting worse.
With the increase in climate change issues, we find it easier to be exposed to dangers to our mental and physical health. We need to act quickly, but in the meantime, we need to focus on decreasing our carbon footprint to protect ourselves and prevent future issues in years to come.