“Global warming refers to the increase in the temperatures of the global surface causing various effects on the climate of the world,” (Spencer, 2003). Changes in climate will include change in the patterns of rainfall, rise in the sea level among other climate changes. This affects the life of many organisms within the surface especially the living organism and also human beings. The impact of global warming varies as it influences the lives of the vegetation, wildlife, and also human beings. The changes in climate as a result of global warming normally varies from place to place. This brings a lot of long term changes that individuals have to deal with in their every day life.
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Climate changes result because the warming normally results to evaporation and changes in the patterns of precipitation within the earth’s surface. Glaciers and the sea ice will also experience various changes as a result of the warming. Global warming was first reported in the 20th century and this has continued over the years. Various reasons have been attributed to the causes of global warming within the earth’s surface. The effects of global warming have continued to be felt all over the world and this has provided a basis of argument for scientist who will not agree on the various effects that result from global warming. This paper analyses the effects of global warming on the health of human beings. The resulting health effects have been a topic of controversy with some scientist claiming that global warming will have major effects on human health while others disagree with this claims.
Causes of global warming
The main factors that have been attributed to the resulting global warming are the green house gas effects, differences in the solar and also volcanoes. Most scientists have blamed the resulting global warming on the human activities which in turn causes various changes in the atmospheric gases. (Global warming in Chicago)
Human interferance especially the release of green house gasescauses a build up of gases which leads to changes in temperatures. The green house effect itself has been as a result of the absorption of heat or radiation by the atmospheric gases which retain heat and this then causes changes in the earth’s temperature. The green house gases have been estimated to cause an effect of around 33 degrees in the atmosphere. The greenhouse gases normally comprise of carbon dioxide, ozone, methane and water vapor. All this components of the greenhouse gases cause different effects on the atmospheric temperatures. The human activities in the earth’s surface are especially blamed for the increase in the green house effects. The industrial activities which took root in the 20th century have caused major changes on the atmospheric gases. “Pollutants that are released from the industrial activities will have a major effect on the atmospheric gases,” (Spencer, 2003).
Other human activities include deforestation which involves cutting down of trees at very high rates. This causes an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere thus increasing the effects of the green house effect. Burning of fossil fuels is also another factor that is considered a cause of global warming. Burning of fossil fuels adds on to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The warming of the atmosphere causes effects on the clouding patterns. Radiation from the earth is usually reflected back to the earth by the clouds and this causes further warming. On the other hand, warming results to a lot of water evaporation thus increasing the water vapor in the atmosphere thus more green house effect. “Changes in climate as a result of this atmospheric changes causes effects on the human activities and also their health,” (Joshua, 1997). One of the major effect is changes on the agricultural production. Global warming will cause changes in the patterns of rainfall and this affects the agricultural yields. Global warming has resulted to a lot of economic costs to most continents and its future mainly depends on the trend of the human activities that result to this changes.
Effects of global warming on Human health
Global warming has been blamed for the spread of various diseases. The effects that result from global warming are said to create atmospheric conditions that favor the spread of very infectious diseases and thus risking the lives of very many individuals. Global warming has been blamed for the spread of the following infectious diseases.
This is a disease which is spread by the mosquitoes. There has been no vaccination that has been developed to curb the spread of this fever. “The spread of the disease is said to increase with rises in temperatures that is global warming. This disease has been a threat in the United States and doctors have declared it as a very deadly disease,” (David, 2005). In some regions, it is very challenging to diagnose the disease and also to treat it and this is what makes the disease spread even more and claim very many lives. Spread of this disease is usually dependent upon the atmospheric temperatures. History has indicated that very low temperatures have resulted to the death of the larvae and also adult mosquitoes that spread the fever. High temperatures however favor their survival and thus increase the chances of spreading the fever to the humans. The mosquitoes are said to have spread the disease in most parts of the United States especially in Texas and Chicago. The disease has been cited as very dangerous by the medical fraternity in the U.S.
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“Global warming results to higher sea level and this has raised the spread of infectious water born disease,”(Anne, 2006). One of the major water borne disease that results from global warming include cholera. The bacteria that cause this water borne disease thrive better in very warm conditions and thus global warming acts as a reservoir for the vectors of such a disease. The disease has resulted to major deaths especially in the African continent. The children within the population have been the worst affected by the spread of the water borne diseases. This has in turn increased the mortality rates during the extreme periods of global warming. Cholera and other water borne diseases increase as the effects of global warming worsen.
For example global warming is likely to result to extreme flooding in some regions. This results to the contamination of water in most regions. This especially affects those who live in the African continent where they depend on rivers and other flowing sources for drinking water. Flooding will contaminate clean water as the water flows from many sources thus mixing clean and dirty water. This results to many water borne diseases. On the other hand, flooding and destruction of property that results from changes in weather such as hurricanes and heavy down poor may result to displacement of individuals from their homes. This results to such refugees camping in one area which often results to congestion of people. “Such congestion normally results to poor sanitation and thus causing a lot of waterborne among other diarrhea and infectious diseases,” (Bruce, 2001).
Malaria just like the dengue fever is spread by mosquitoes. It is also a disease whose spread is controlled by the prevailing temperatures in the globe. Very high temperatures which result from global warming have favored the spread of the disease. This exposes the population to the risks of the disease mainly the children and the pregnant mothers. Scientists have claimed that the malaria carrying mosquitoes usually spread with the warmer temperatures as they move to the north and south to regions of higher latitudes. Malaria outbreaks have been very commonly reported as a result of the high temperatures
Asthma, dysentery, Ebola, Lyme, sleeping sickness and intestinal parasites
“Global warming is said to increase the chances of individuals suffering from asthma. This happens when the resulting global warming is as a result of high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” (David, 2005). High levels of carbon dioxide favor the process of pollination and growth of other pathogens that affect the respiratory system. Scientists have indicated that warm temperatures increase the growth of molds which attach themselves easily to the diesel particles emitted from the engines. When individuals breath in this air and gases, it is likely to cause allergies and thus asthma in the respiratory system. Another disease mentioned to increase with temperatures is dysentery which results from snails. Snails normally thrive well during the wet seasons and if they contaminate the water sources then the disease is likely to spread very fast to human beings. “Another disease that scientist have mentioned to increase with global warming is Ebola,” (Bruce, 2001).
They argue that the spread of the disease normally depends on the weather patterns. Major outbreaks of the disease normally result from dry and wet conditions of the weather. Lyme is a another disease that is normally spread through parasites which are referred to as ticks. Humans get this disease from a simple bite of an infected tick. The disease also varies with the changes in temperature. Tick distribution changes with weather patterns and thus global warming may increase the rates of infection to human beings. “Intestinal parasites are claimed to survive better during the warm seasons,” (Anne, 2005). This on the other hand increases the chances of humans and also animals being infected with intestinal worms. The biggest risk lies with human beings since consumption of animal products such as infected meat will also result to being infected with the parasites. Another disease caused by parasites is sleeping sickness which is spread by the tsetse flies. This parasites also spread depending on the weather patterns. Climate changes as a result of global warming will therefore increase the chances of human getting infected with sleeping sickness.
Other effects on health
Other effects on health of human beings which may be indirect include malnutrition as a result of destruction of crops. Global warming normally results to very heavy down poor which in most cases results to damaging of crops especially due to flooding. Such flooding destroys the crops in the fields or it mays result to very poor conditions that do not favor good produce. This threatens the food security of most countries and may result to very adverse drought effects. With such droughts food is usually a major problem resulting to malnutrition on human beings. This has been reported to result to major deaths as a result of malnutrition during the drought periods. “Global warming has caused the heat related deaths. This is especially reported among the elderly people and also people living in urban regions where there is poor air conditioning,” (Bruce, 2001). This condition is more prevalent in the developed countries as opposed to the developing countries. On other cases global warming has had positive effects on the human health especially by reducing the deaths that are cold related. Such individuals would have died if the cold conditions prevailed but their lives are saved with global warming.
Some scientist have come up with refuting studies that the effects brought by global warming do not necessarily affect the human health. Some have actually argued that global warming has resulted to improved human health other than affecting it. Even though malaria is a tropical disease, it is argued that most politicians and the proponents of effects of global warming have misled the public on the factors related to the climate and the disease. The opinion that global warming results to heat related deaths has especially been disapproved. “The claim that heat wave caused thousands of death in Europe has actually being cleared by the medical doctors who claim that the heats related diseases were much lower than it was claimed,” (Kendra, 2006).
Such individuals are usually suffering from other ailments and they would have died even without global warming. What global warming does is only hastening their death but not causing it. The spread of malaria, cholera, dengue fever and other tropical diseases has been attributed to migration rather than global warming. Other respiratory and chronic diseases have been attributed to age and not global warming. Poverty has been cited as the major cause of deaths in Africa where the individuals lack enough resources to ensure proper sanitation and deal with calamities and thus an increase of spread of diseases such as waterborne diseases, malaria and the diarrhea diseases. The spread of such diseases is said not to be related to the changes in weather as a result of global warming. “The scientist claim that the insect borne diseases which are claimed to increase with warm temperatures were present even before the twentieth century and during this period there were no effects of global warming,” (Thomas, 1998). The fact that global warming causes major effects on human health have been disputed by the scientists who claim that climate has nothing to do with spread of diseases and warm climate in particular cannot move diseases from one region to another
Solutions to global warming
“The effects of global warming can be prevented by the precautionary principal. In this case the environmentalist have put effort to campaign for better use of technology that results to major effects of global warming,” (Kendra, 2006). In particular they campaign for putting a limit on the use of the modern technologies especially the nuclear power. The precautionary principal has two major components. The first component emphasis that individuals should always ensure that technology they want to use is actually safe before using it. The second principal campaigns for increased standards of proofing that technologies are safe before they are used. Such principals are advocated by the environmental organizations such as the green peace organization which ficus on the factors that affect the environment.
In conclusion, the effects that result from global warming will always remain a topic of controversy in the public eye. Most scientists will always agree and disagree an the real effects of global warming to human life. However governments should focus on policies of disaster management in order to ensure its population are on the safe side. Whether global warming results to diseases or not, the resulting repercussions from changes in weather such as flooding and destruction of property should always be handled in a manner that will not compromise the health of human beings. Use of technologies that result to effects on the atmospheric gases should be limited in order to reduce the effects of global warming on the earth’s surface.
Anne. N, 2005. Global Warming in our environment: A Health Perspective. Waveland Press, p32-56.
Bruce A, 2001. Potential effects of global warming on human health. World Health Organization, p1-9.
David F. M, 2005. Human Diseases caused by global warming. Sage publishers, p17-28.
Joshua. R and Francesca. G, 1997. Global warming and human health. Prentice Hall Publishers, p15-32.
Kendra. O and Julian. M, 2006. The threat that pollution poses to human health has been exaggerated. Green House Press p1-8.
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Spencer R. W, 2003. The Discovery of Global Warming. Harvard University Press. p8-19.
Thomas G. M, 1998. Climate of fear: Why we shouldn’t worry about global Warming. Washington D.C. Cato Institute, p1-11.