Climate change and health: creating global awareness and using earth resources wisely

(European Environment Agency, 2017)

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Animesh Upadhyay, medical student from India who is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

There is a myth regarding the 10th avatar of Lord Vishnu, mystically named “The Kalki Avatar”. It is said; that she (hopefully) will only arrive when mankind is on its brink of self- destruction and what a bigger genocide than the horrific climate change in our time. The national leaders and their so called primitive health officials have played a very little part in our current conventional health system. Climate change, comprising of the broad spectrum of altering variables, narrows done to air, water, food and shelter; as stated by WHO.

But maybe this notion is as erroneous as the leaders still conveying their personal thoughts. The positive effects of climate change are perceived far more than its fallacies. Global warming could be good for the mankind, in ways like fewer winter deaths, lower energy costs, better agricultural yields, probably fewer droughts, maybe richer biodiversity. The greatest benefit from climate change comes not from temperature change but from carbon dioxide itself.

On the other hand, there is a drastic change in formulations of policies in order to fortify the mortals living within this sphere. The stratagem for our safety is built in consideration to the preconceived conviction that, ‘any reorientation of the climate will make the humans and their economy falter’. The extreme heat, irregular rainfall, lengthened transmission seasons of grave vector borne diseases are just to name a few amongst the extensive list.

The medical student, the latest sovereignty of our society can effectively tackle such ill-omen. The ever developing education system and scholastic opportunities compels one to shift their focus towards evidence based management. Creating awareness and illuminating knowledge in the minds of common man regarding the various type of threats that climate change presents to human health, and opportunities to promote health while cutting carbon emissions. Local attendance in nearby health camps will help create a pool of information regarding endemic diseases due to Lord Indra gushing rain on us, and the students can focus on the home remedies to intercept the endemicity. The most basic approach could be embracing the climate change, understanding the scourge and treating likewise; for example, people living in the vicinity of altered air like dust, carbon, heat, etc, should be checked thoroughly keeping in account the primary system being respiratory.

The present medical student can implement the science and evidence; to coordinate reviews of the scientific evidence on the links between climate change and health, and develop a global research agenda.

Yes, medical students can be the solution, if they practice climate and system specific perspective in relation to the transforming territory in their daily lives.

As travellers in this space ship called Earth, we need to be very prudent as to how we use the resources vital to our health. We as physicians can play a relatively major role in reducing the negative impact of climate on human health and also have an impact on root causes.

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