The Biggest Health Threat Facing Humanity
After the world fell to its knees at the mercy of coronavirus in 2019, the world soon discovered how much we take our health and liberties for granted. In 2022, there are talks from world leaders and scientific advisors wanting to treat the virus as an “endemic” which means we would treat it the same as the annual flu and start learning to adapt to the virus with little to no restrictions.
In most first-world countries like the United Kingdom, we are lucky to have access to quality healthcare and up to 71.7% of the population is fully vaccinated. In other countries where they have massive wealth inequality such as India, we have seen how much of a toll coronavirus took on its citizens who are (or very sadly) were living in a dire state of poverty, lack of sanitation and access to vital medication and health care professionals means too many lives were lost that could have been saved.
Although things are looking up for the world learning to live with the coronavirus crisis, it is vital we take this as a sign of the worst to come. Climate change severely jeopardizes the future of billions of us on the planet. Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health- clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food, and secure shelter. Between 2030 and 2050, the crisis is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. Areas with weak health infrastructure — predominantly in developing countries will be the least able to cope without proper assistance to prepare and respond.
Climate-sensitive health risks
Climate change is already affecting health in a myriad of ways, and it already includes events leading to death and illness. Extreme weather events such as flooding and storms of heatwaves and an increase in zoonoses and food and waterborne diseases are threatening our lives as we know it. These Climate sensitive risks are felt most by the vulnerable and disadvantaged including women, children, ethnic minorities, poorer communities, and the older population. It is vital we tackle the crisis before it’s too late, it is literally a life or death matter for millions of us.