Year 3, Month 3, Day 23: Good News For The Albuterol Lobby

The Chicago Tribune reprints a story from US News and World Report on (hack! cough! sneeze!) the respiratory impacts of climate change:

A group of lung doctors warned Thursday that climate change will likely lead to an increase in the rate and severity of a variety of respiratory diseases.

“We felt as though the medical community was not understanding how climate change might impact patients and their health,” says Kent Pinkerton, director of the Center for Health & the Environment at the University of California-Davis. Pinkerton says the warning came out of a meeting of top climate change scientists and lung doctors that discussed the potential impacts of global warming on patient health.

“It was an eye opener for us as we began to talk to climatologists and other individuals to find out how climate change can have far-reaching effects,” he says. It’s not just pollution’s impact on air quality that’s causing an increasing number of cases of asthma, allergies and chronic pulmonary diseases, according to the document.

I know a lot of people with asthma. It’s no joke. Neither is this. Sent March 17:

While an uptick in respiratory diseases is already bad news (given that Americans lose millions of work hours and experience more than enough asthma-related misery already), the public health consequences of climate change are only beginning to be understood, and the genuinely scary stuff still isn’t attracting media attention.

It’s not just increased pollen counts ravaging our lungs. It’s disease-carrying insects traveling northward as warmer conditions spread. It’s disruption of monocropped agriculture from extreme weather events; it’s trees no longer protected by winter freezes from destructive beetle pests; it’s droughts and wildfires; it’s the ongoing loss of biodiversity in our planetary environment. Each of these factors is grim enough when considered in isolation — but the complex jigsaw puzzle that is planetary climate chaos has yet to be assembled in the public imagination. Will we put all the pieces together before our civilization is rent asunder?

Warren Senders

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