Climate change harms human health

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

global warming
Global warming causes droughts, which are a lack of water.

International groups like the United Nations and World Health Organization warn that the effects of global warming are not just an issue for climate scientists to think about. People from all across the globe will have their lives affected by the changing weather that results from human pollution. Heavier rainfall and blazing hot summers negatively impact our ability to grow food, limit access to drinkable water, and create temperatures dangerous for our bodies.

Many of these dangerous changes are already taking place at an alarming rate. Since the year 2007, the number of scientific studies that observed the effects of global warming have doubled. A recent one found that glaciers in Greenland that were stable for 25 years are suddenly melting into the ocean and raising sea levels across the globe. As the water levels rise, people who live close to the coast are threatened because the land is wearing away, forcing entire communities to relocate.

Additionally, the water is becoming more acid-like from carbon dioxide chemicals pumped into the air by factories, cars, and other human activities. This acidic water is killing off marine creatures and harming coral reefs, which are not only home for many underwater species, but also play a powerful role in medicine development for humans.

melting
Glaciers are melting, which causes ocean levels to rise, damages animal environments, and can one day flood mainland cities.

Meanwhile, freshwater is becoming more scarce. In the state of California, high temperatures and ridiculously hot winters have kept one of the largest American states in a long-lasting drought. Abnormally high temperatures and droughts have even wreaked havoc on growing crops, which has a devastating impact on food quantities. See, California is the nation’s top farming state in a massive $50 billion dollar industry, producing about one third of the USA’s fruits and veggies.

Then, there’s the risk of temperature-related problems like heat stroke and hypothermia (where the body becomes too cold and can die), but it’s much more than that. Quirky weather conditions can contaminate the food we eat and make the air poisonous to breathe.

As you can tell, this is a very serious report, but is there any way to stop or reverse all these dangerous changes? It may already be too late, but if we stop the amount of greenhouse gases spewing into the atmosphere that’s trapping in excess heat, we may have a fighting chance. So, be sure to recycle and help out your local community with helpful activities like planting trees and cleaning up human litter.

Featured image courtesy of Minds-eye on Flickr. Image of desert courtesy of Jesper Särnesjö.