“What a Wonderful World”: the unsettled relationship between Climate Change and Human Health

ice melting 2019

(Roxanne Desgagnés, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Lucas Diniz, Lucas Diniz is a second-year medical student at Pontifical Catholic University of Goiás, Brazil.. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. 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.


In 1961, during the Cold War, Lieutenant Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to leave the Earth’s atmosphere and, as a hero of the Soviet Republic, became famous for his declaration, while gazing at the planet: “The earth is blue. How wonderful. It is amazing.” Also, in the 1960s, the American trumpeter Louis Armstrong sang: “I see trees of green, I see skies so blue and clouds of white, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.” Let’s forget the Cold War for a minute: both Soviet and American cultures were impressed by this wonderful world.

Gladly, neither of these remarkable men stood alive to see what ever happened to this unique and marvelous place, for the opportunity to “behold” the orb as it is today: stained with smoke, danger and death – the last two centuries, especially the latter, with the Third Industrial Revolution and, of course, the recent so-called “Industry 4.0”, abruptly interfered on the future of our House, engendering real problems, such as rising sea level, acidification of sea water and other impacts, whereby on agriculture and human flow all around the globe, derived from global warming, direct result of the climate change generated by deforestation, burning of fossil fuels, animal husbandry, oil extraction.

Nowadays, anthropic activities – our actions – are changing the world’s climate, increasing the atmospheric concentration of energy-trapping gases (the greenhouse gases or GHGs, containing carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other human-made halocarbons), thereby amplifying the natural “greenhouse effect” that makes our House a house. Along with natural consequences, our health is also impaired. Clearly, the existence of relations between the health of human populations and the environment was already present in the beginnings of human civilization, consonant to the Hippocratic writings. However, it seems like human beings turn blind eyes to the impact of the environment on their health. (1)

Hereupon, we must know that “environment” refers to a homogeneous combination of physical-chemical, biological and social factors, which have been recently highlighted for their significant importance on the directions of public health: according to CRED – Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, natural disasters have killed 1.3 million people in the last 20 years and caused losses of over $ 2908 billion, a 68% increase over the previous two decades, representing a threat mostly to European and Southeast Asian countries. N

ot only natural disasters, but lack of food and water supplies due to global warming can cause significant population migration and disorganization of countries, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. (2) These disorders are intimately involved with floods, droughts, heat and cold waves, as well as future scenarios for global climate change indicate a decline in agricultural production, notably in tropical areas, where you can additionally find climate changes operation in ecosystems where pathogens, vectors and natural hosts are part: an increase in the transmission of infectious diseases, like malaria, dengue, chikungunya, leishmaniasis, Chagas’ disease and trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), has been widely described by researchers. And we must acknowledge that these dreadful consequences depend not only on the vagaries of mother nature but also on the sociopolitical and individual choices we make. (3)

Therefore, health as the center of the discussion about Climate Change is rising as a major theme in population health research and social policy development, becoming a leading role in the sustainability debate: the biopsychosocial hazards of Climate Change are well known in the scientific community and general population is taking its baby steps to a future of awareness and preservation. Could we someday return to the glorious past of “What a Wonderful World”? That’s up to us. It’s time to think global, act local. Will mitigating Climate Change and improving public health be leading roles in our lives?

References

  1. WHO | Climate change and human health – risks and responses. Summary. WHO. World Health Organization; 2012;
  2. AFP. Aquecimento global pode favorecer migrações e terrorismo. Estado de Minas. 2015;1.
  3. Peralta S. Tsunami na Indonésia e sismo em Lisboa: a política faz a diferença. Público Portugal. 2018;3.

About the author

Lucas Diniz is a second-year medical student at Pontifical Catholic University of Goiás, Brazil. Interested in photography, cinema and other expressions of art, such as the art of medicine, he is passionate about understanding more than the science field, but also the psychosocial variables involved in the health-disease process. He believes in the power that has a single conscious action to change the world, combating inequalities and respecting diversity. He is a member of the IFMSA Brazil’s Administrative Team, works at the Academic Center and is the current Local Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of his university IFMSA Local Committee.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

The EU Commission vies to screen Chinese investment in Europe

European car industry: The Germans want it all

MEPs reject making EU regional funding dependent on economic targets

MEPs approve EU’s spending in 2017

New skills needed for medical students in Industry 4.0

Precision medicine should be accessible to all

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

3 steps to making multistakeholder partnerships a powerful force

Strength in unity: Commission makes recommendations for the EU’s next strategic agenda 2019-2024

How climate change exacerbates the refugee crisis – and what can be done about it

EU-wide rules for safety of drones approved by European Parliament

Libya: ‘Substantial civilian casualties’ in Derna, UN humanitarian chief ‘deeply concerned’

WHO reports ‘very strong progress’ in battling DR Congo Ebola outbreak

Earth already has a perfect recycling system. So why not use it?

In Japan, if you’re 76 you’re biologically 65

European Commission: the LED lights of your Audi A6 shall save our planet

Former Chilean President Bachelet put forward by UN chief as next High Commissioner for Human Rights

Women’s voices must be heard in the battle to save the ocean

Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast: sustained but less dynamic growth amid high uncertainty

Why Eurozone urgently needs the ECB to print and distribute at least €500 billion

A new kind of company is revolutionising Africa’s gig economy

This Danish scheme is offering free kayak rides… for picking up trash

Donor countries need to reform development finance to meet 2030 pledge

The Parliament paves the way for the creation of the European Banking Union

Nigeria: UN chief ‘appalled’ by killing of aid worker; calls for release of remaining hostages

Hiring is broken. Here’s how to fix it

Governments should renew efforts to reform support to agriculture

Resiliency is the key to strong investments in a chaotic world

EU and China in search of a win-win agreement through strategic cooperation ahead of the EU-China summit

EU to give more power to national antitrust authorities in a bid to secure regulatory fines

‘Business as usual’ will not achieve global education goals

Protectionism doesn’t stand a chance in the age of connectivity

Three tips for breaking through bias and seeing evidence more clearly

How the EU sees its own and Russia’s role in Ukraine

The Eurogroup+ is born to govern the EU Banking Union

European Citizens’ Initiative: A game of much publicity and one big lie

Lithuania vs Parliament over 2014 EU budget

EU elections update: Can the EU voters vote unaffected from fake news and online disinformation?

Can North Korea and the U.S. strike a nuclear deal?

MEPs urge the EU to lead the way to net-zero emissions by 2050

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris is indeed our best bet for a secure climate future”, EU Commissioner for Environment Karmenu Vella cries out from Brussels

Pedal power makes ‘positive impact on climate’, urges UN on World Bicycle Day

Let your fingers do the walking

Free trade agreement between EU and India?

The power of trust and values in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

UN highlights need to solve growing burden of forcibly displaced Africans

These are the countries where it’s still illegal to get an abortion

MWC 2016 LIVE: T-Mobile US reveals 5G trial plans

New Zealand can improve well-being through better policymaking and reforms to housing and migration policy

Don’t let smoking steal life’s breathtaking moments, urges UN health agency

To tackle climate change, we need city diplomacy

EU Parliament: It takes real banks to fight unemployment and recession

Obese people more likely to smoke, says new gene research: WHO

UN rights chief denounces Burundi for ‘belligerent and defamatory’ attack on inquiry team

Saudi Arabia, China, among 14 nations under UN human rights spotlight: what you need to know

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

The sad plight of fledging doctors

Newly displaced fleeing attacks in northeast Nigeria, top 2,000

Why the 33,000 staff European Commission did not have a real contingency plan for the refugee crisis?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s