Monday, October 12, 2015

Climate Change: Threat to Human Health

By Anton Antonio
October 13, 2015

Humans have a natural tendency to care less about their environment as they would care about themselves.  This is exactly the mindset that will make climate change a real game-changer.  Perhaps, people will start caring more about the environment when climate change is beginning to seriously impact on human health… which is now about them.  If people detach themselves from the world around them and think that climate change is just an “environmental” problem and, therefore, not a “human” problem, then we are dead wrong.  The degree of impact on the environment of climate change is the same level of problem that will affect human life… of human health.  Please read…

By Rolly Montpellier

(Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of  He’s a Climate Reality leader, a blogger and a Climate Activists.  Rolly has been published widely – Toronto Star, The Hill Times, Kingston Whig, the PEN, Unpublished Ottawa, Climate Change Guide, World Daily, Examiner, The Canadian, 350Ottawa, ClimateMama, MyEarth360, GreenDivas, The Elephant, Countercurrents, County Weekly News.  He’s a member of Climate Reality Canada, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa) and 350.Org (Ottawa).  You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus.)

In 2008, poor air quality alone, including from oil and gas production, cost Canada about $8 billion, according to as report by the Canadian Medical Association.  By 2031, those costs are expected to rise to $250 billion… almost 90,000 people will have died from the acute effects of air pollution,” the CMA said.  (Source: The Globe and Mail).  The 2014 US national Climate Assessment outlines the human health implications of a warming planet.  Our changing climate will produce severe health impacts which “will manifest in varying ways in different parts of the world,” states the report.  :Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including impact from extreme events, wildfires, decreased air quality, threats to mental and illnesses transmitted by food, water, and disease-carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks.”  The threat to human health from climate change is so great that it could undermine the last 50 years of gains in development and global health, experts warn in the Lancet in June 2015.  The Health and Climate Change report said direct health impacts of climate change come from more frequent and intense extreme weather events, while indirect impacts come from changes in infectious disease patterns, air pollution, food security and malnutrition, displacement and conflicts.  The good news is the panel also said burning fewer fossil fuels reduces respiratory diseases, for example, and getting people walking and cycling more cuts pollution, road accidents and rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  Previously, Canadian Health associations sounded the alarm about the health impacts of climate change.  In June 2014, Dr. Eilish Cleary, Chief Medical Officer of Health for New Brunswick, expressed the necessity of considering human health when making decisions about emissions.  She said, “There hasn’t been adequate recognition by all levels of policy-makers and decision-makers that it is really a problem that we have to do something about.”  Nova Scotia’s Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang concurred, adding that the discourse has been too focused on adaption to the exclusion of mitigation planning.  Public health officials know: if you are concerned about public health you should also be concerned about climate change.  If we want to prevent the health consequences of climate change, we need to work to decrease our fossil fuel emissions.  That’s why Citizens’ Climate Lobby supports a revenue-neutral carbon tax: carbon fee and dividend as proposed by MP Bruce Hyer repeatedly in the House of Commons since November 2013.  The return of 100% of the proceeds from tax is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine of a carbon tax go down smoothly.  It’s time to take action.”

Health impacts caused by climate change, as a widely held belief by environmental scientists, are linked primarily to fossil fuel emissions.  Now that we were given a birds-eye view of the real impacts of climate change on human health, we just have to pause, think, internalize and increase our level of awareness on climate change and its threat to human health.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Climate Change Guide, (2015).  “Climate Change is a Threat to Human Health”.  Retrieved on October 13, 2015 from

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