Year 3, Month 6, Day 17: I Have A Banana In My Ear!

U.S. News and World Report acknowledges that the Public Health picture is far from rosy, in an article entitled “Expert: Climate Change Will Increasingly Become Global Health Issue”:

Previously just the worry of climate scientists, environmentalists, doomsday prognosticators, and gas-price watchers, climate change is starting to worry some others— public health specialists, who say that global warming could affect large swaths of the population.

In a paper published in the journal PLoS Medicine Tuesday, a group of European public health experts write that climate change could alter “patterns of physical activity and food availability, and in some cases [bring] direct physical harm.” Slight temperature increases could also change disease distribution in colder regions and make hotter regions less hospitable to humans.

“Certain subgroups are at more risk—mainly the young, the old, and the poor,” says Peter Byass, director of the Umea Centre for Global Health Research in Sweden. “The middle age and wealthy will be better off. It’s a crude way of looking at it, but it’s not so far off the mark.”

That means more prevalence of diseases that affect the poor, such as malaria and dengue fever, and heat stroke in drought-afflicted areas.

For years, scientists have warned about more extreme hurricanes and weather patterns, but until recently, not much emphasis was put on less noticeable changes.

The comments include much stupidity, in highly predictable formats. Sent June 6:

The public health consequences of climate change are going to be very significant. It’s more than just hotter days and crazier weather; it’s invasive insects migrating to keep pace with environmental transformations and bringing tropical diseases with them; it’s the potential damage to our infrastructure that will make hamper sanitation; it’s allergies and asthma and a host of other debilitating ailments that will make our lives and those of our children progressively more difficult in coming centuries.

But even this does not begin to fully address the problem, for what affects humans will affect other life as well. Many species will be unable to cope, and we can anticipate losing much of the biodiversity that forms Earth’s priceless genetic heritage. Your headline announces that climate change is becoming a “Global Health Issue.” Indeed. It’s not just the people who live on it, but the planet itself that is deeply ill.

Warren Senders

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