Growing up in Colorado, I remember going on hikes and finding the view tainted by a thin layer of brown smog hugging the Denver skyline. I remember receiving warnings against mowing the lawn before 5:00 p.m. because atmospheric ozone was developing or being prevented from watering the lawn for weeks on end due to drought.
I am willing to bet that each person reading this can recollect some aspect of their childhood being impacted by climate change. Whether it is rampant wildfires, devastating floods, record-breaking cold, record-breaking heat, hurricanes, droughts, or blizzards, extreme weather is an all-too familiar beast.
Climate change is more than extreme weather. It is unrelenting poor air quality, increased allergens and pollen counts, and it is higher instances of food insecurity – all of which directly impact health.
For example, alterations in precipitation and temperature trends means that crops aren’t flourishing the way they used to in their native regions and higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can deplete the nutritional content of many crops.
These conditions create food shortages and increases the number of food deserts. In addition, sensitive groups, like those with asthma, cystic fibrosis, or other respiratory conditions, are particularly impacted by poor air quality and increased pollen counts. Increased exposure to airborne pollutants often exacerbates their symptoms and sometimes worsens their conditions.
Clearly, there is an irrevocable connection between public health and climate change. Therefore, the human maxim to take care of others extends to taking care of the environment.
Since every person calls this planet their home, being a steward of the environment in order to mitigate climate change is a global concern.
On November 6, the Global Day of Action on Climate Change, environmental activist groups around the world advocated to mitigate climate change and support climate efforts which improve public health.
On this day, communities across the globe took matters into their own hands and advocated for solutions that will help decrease climate-related health issues. However, the Global Day of Action was not limited to grassroots initiatives. International leaders also participated at climate summits like the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26).
On Saturday in Glasgow, a Global Conference on Health and Climate Change unfolded in hopes that world leaders would formulate policy addressing the dual interest in mitigating climate change and maintaining public health around the world.
On this earth, we share one globe, one atmosphere, one ocean, and one future. This is the only planet we’ve got, so citizens of the globe must come together to make a change. Do your part and take action to protect our planet and our health!
For more information about the Global Conference on Health and Climate Change, visit: https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2021/11/06/default-calendar/2021-global-conference-on-health-and-climate-change.
For more information about the effects of climate change on health, visit: