Climate change is often portrayed as solely an environmental issue affecting wildlife more than humans, and habitats more than homes, but the truth is that it impacts humans just as much as animals. In fact, climate change is as much of a social justice issue as it is an environmental one, and the fact that we are the ones responsible for this mess does not excuse us from the consequences in the least.
Though money and popular politics might not be in favor of environmental advocacy, we all must push our legislators, commercial corporations, and construction companies to adopt sustainable building practices.
Despite study after study, not to mention easily recognizable changes in weather patterns across the world, some people choose to deny that global warming exists. Whether people choose to attribute that to a simple change in weather or they simply don’t believe anything that they haven’t personally experienced, it is a very real problem that affects more than the polar bears on the melting ice caps.
The University of Nevada, Reno reports on some of these health consequences of climate change, including undernutrition and food insecurity, environmental disasters, and even new diseases and allergies. According to the university, “as global temperatures rise, areas all around the world are likely to see reduced food security, both related to the cultivation of food animals and agricultural production.”
Similarly, they report that increased incidences of natural disasters, including “once-in-every-500-years events” happening with “shocking frequency.” Lastly, they report on vector-borne diseases — like malaria and dengue fever — typically found in tropical and sub-tropical areas spreading throughout the world as rising global temperatures allow them to spread into other areas.
Heat and Athletes
Although it’s true that climate change affects vulnerable populations, like those without access to healthcare and those who live in food insecurity, more than anyone else, it also has extreme consequences on the general population. For example, in places with rising temperatures, excessive heat can pose health threats to students training and practicing for sports out in the heat.
While these can be as common as dehydration and muscle cramps, it can also get bad enough to cause heat exhaustion or even heat strokes. In fact, in the U.S., heat stroke is now the leading cause of sudden death from sports for high-school aged teenager’s. The sad truth is that global warming can prove harmful and even lethal to those students motivated to participate in sports.
There is no one perfect or all-encompassing solutions to improve climate change. This is in part because climate change is caused by many different factors, and also because most solutions have their own negative consequences. However, that should not be used as a reason not to make changes, as every change can have an impact. The consequences of climate change are so problematic and extensive, that we should be putting as much effort as possible into making even a small difference.
The Renewable Energy World
Everyone knows there are many more environmentally sound energy resources than the ones most commonly used, such as gas and coal. Hydro, geothermal, wind, and solar all offer clean ways and renewable ways to provide energy. Of course, these resources come with their own drawbacks, but they are comparatively minor to those of non-renewable energy.
According to renewable energy experts, the cons of non-renewable energy include pollution, environmental damage, and that they are not sustainable in the long term. In contrast, most of the cons of renewable energy are due to the process of implementing them, such as changing or creating an infrastructure for them. While this would take time and money, there is also the invaluable effect that it will create jobs and help the economy.
Lowering Global Temperatures
Changing up our resources for energy is a great way to reduce pollutants and cut down on the greenhouse effect, but there are other ways to consider to lower outside temperatures, especially in cities. Recent studies have found that black asphalt causes temperatures to increase. Temperature differences of up to 20 degrees were found between black asphalt and white sidewalk, just a few feet away.
As a result, one city in California is trying to combat this. In Los Angeles, efforts are being made to reduce high temperatures by painting the streets a white/gray color. In this city where temperatures often reach and surpass 100 degrees F in the summer, every degree that can be dropped will make a significant difference in the health of its inhabitants.
Climate change is an issue that nobody can escape from, making it everyone’s responsibility. Every move we make towards reducing pollution and supporting sustainability is a step to save our planet and improve the quality of life on it. Step by step, we can make a difference and save the health of the Earth and its inhabitants.