Global warming: our responsibility

_climate change

Greenland ocean sunset (William Bossen, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Bianca Batista dos Santos is a third year medicine student and works as a Local Exchange Officer at IFMSA Brazil Unicesumar. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Global warming has been a subject much discussed in the last decades, mainly due to the increase of its effect. Population growth, urbanization and industrialization are among the reasons why carbon dioxide and methane, greenhouse effect gases, have increased dramatically, as well as deforestation. All this cooperates so that global temperatures are increasing. [1]

Because of such climatic changes, several aspects of society are affected and one of them is health. With changes in temperatures, humidity and rainfall, many diseases are transmitted. The main diseases related to climate change are water, respiratory and vector-borne diseases. [2]

Some examples of changes that end up affecting health are hurricanes, floods, droughts and frost. There are many deaths, either directly or indirectly. Leptospirosis, hepatitis, diarrheal diseases, difficulty-accessing water, leading to dehydration and, often, malnutrition are also some of these consequences. In addition to the thermal inversion that occurs in urban environments, leading to episodes of asthma, allergies, sinusitis, etc. [3]

Dengue and malaria, vector diseases, are the most common in the rainy season and due to climatic fluctuations, consequences of global warming, such diseases have increased their incidence. [2] Another example is heat waves, such as that of the summer of 2003, which occurred in Western Europe, in which many died. [4]

Therefore, according to the sustainable development objectives of the UN 2030 agenda, 3 and 13, which correspond to health and well-being and action against global climate change, the demands for them to be fulfilled must be met and deserve attention of the whole world, since it is an issue that has been getting worse over the years. Thus, it is incumbent upon all governments to be aware of this global problem, which must be dealt with urgently,  since we are responsible for climate change. [5]

  1. McMichael AJ, Woodruff RE, Hales S. Climate change and human health: present and future risks. The Lancet 2006; 367:859-869.
  2. Barcellos Christovam, Monteiro Antonio Miguel Vieira, Corvalán Carlos, Gurgel Helen C., Carvalho Marilia Sá, Artaxo Paulo et al. Mudanças climáticas e ambientais e as doenças infecciosas: cenários e incertezas para o Brasil. Epidemiol. Serv. Saúde [Internet]. 2009 Set [citado 2019 Jan 18]; 18(3): 285-304. Disponível em: http://scielo.iec.gov.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1679-49742009000300011&lng=pt.  http://dx.doi.org/10.5123/S1679-49742009000300011.
  3. https://archive.epa.gov/epa/climate-impacts/climate-change-and-health-factsheets.html
  4. https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/learn-about-the-weather/weather-phenomena/case-studies/heatwave
  5. https://nacoesunidas.org/

About the author

Bianca Batista dos Santos is a third year medicine student and works as a Local
Exchange Officer at IFMSA Brazil Unicesumar. She is part of two academic leagues:
ophthalmology and otolaryngology and neurology. She is also very active in college
activities, from IFMSA campaigns, coordinating or participating, as well as conferences,
congresses and scientific projects.

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