Climate change is a change in the climate around the world. This change could represent an unusual situation in terms of temperature or the hydrologic cycle of the earth. Although tropical weather changes instantly, a change in climate is confirmed under the observation of at least 30 years to even millions of years. Besides changing, climate change affects the United States of America (USA) in many different ways including human health impacts, temperature-related illness impacts, air quality impacts, extreme event impacts, vector-borne diseases, food safety, and others.
It is not entirely clear that climate change has a direct impact on human health, but it is understood that climate change can affect nature in a way that could lead to health complication. For example, climate change can contribute to the survival and displacement of animals such as mosquitoes and others that live away from human environment. The survival instinct of these animals can cause them to come closer to human habitation with the propagation of infection, such as Lyme disease. A better understanding of how climate change affects human health is to observe the chain reaction between the lack of food and ice melting, and how it can bring humans and animals closer than before. As Cleve R. Wootson Jr. a writer from the Washington Post writes “The higher global temperatures go, the researchers said, the more likely polar bears are to interact with humans — and possibly attack and eat them”.
As the earth continues to warm up, scientists project that the annual average US temperature could reach up to 10°F in the next coming 60 years. If there’s no reduction in the emissions of green house gases, it is evident this increase in temperature will affect human life directly. Any unusual change that leads the temperature to be colder or hotter than usual will cause impairment in the regulation of the body temperature. This impairment may induce illness or death to humans. It is difficult to provide data related to temperature related illness due to weather location variations and different demographics of the U.S. population, with respect to financial status. Although more research needs to be done regarding temperature related illness or death, it is known that extreme weather condition can aggravate humans with existing conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease and many others.
Besides extreme weather conditions, air quality is another important element that humans are dependent on. This element unfortunately doesn’t escape from the climate change passage. The climate influences the hydrologic cycle which involves temperature, rain fall, and wind patterns as well. The elements mentioned from the hydrologic cycle have direct relation with the air quality. Furthermore, the increase of CO2 from climate change influences the growth of plants leading to a surplus of pollen propagation through the air. As a result of the pollen excess, severe allergies is what the U.S population will have to deal with. In conclusion indoor and outdoor air quality is inadequate to the human respiratory system under the influence of climate change.
Extreme events are another destructive agent influenced by climate change. Due to the unbalanced energy of the earth leading to climate change, several events are manifested by flooding, droughts, wildfires and winter storms. These events not only cost billions in infrastructure, but they take human lives as well. According to the Global Change Research Program, “from 2004 to 2013 there have been about $392 billion lost caused by hurricane, $78 billion causes by heat waves, $46 billion caused by tornadoes, $30 billion regarding flooding and a death toll more than 1200”. Despite the loss of human lives, some believe that humans are not innocent in the aggravation of climate change. As Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, writers from The New York Times state, “In a new collection of papers published Wednesday in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, researchers around the world analyzed 27 extreme weather events from 2016 and found that human- case climate change was a “significant driver” for 21 of them”. It seems like humans need to be more alert about climate change in order to avoid being victimized.
Vector-borne diseases are another situation that may get the input of climate change. Vector- borne diseases are diseases that can be transmitted by vector such as mosquitoes and ticks. Such animals can bring contagious virus that is transmissible from one carrier to another one. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “from 2004 to 2013 Lyme disease reported cases start from 36,307 to 38,468, Spotted Fever Rickettsia reported cases started from 3,359 to 4,470 and several other vector- borne diseases”. This phenomenon grabs the attention of author Donald G. McNeil Jr. from The New York Times who writes “New tickborne diseases like Heartland virus are showing up in the continental United States, even as cases of Lyme disease and other established infections are growing. On island territories like Puerto Rico, the threat is mosquitoes carrying viruses like dengue and Zika. Warmer weather is an important cause of the surge, according to the lead author of published in the C.D.C.’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”.
Food is one of the most important survival ingredient pertaining to human life and can be subsequently affected by climate change. First the increase in CO2 will induce a rise in temperature which will lead to the difficulty of food preservation from spoiling. Extreme weather events can damage infrastructure or flooding may wash away an important amount of food production. Furthermore, the excess of CO2 can increase plant growth which are not necessarily the consumed crop that is needed; therefore, the plant growth by the excess of CO2 can cause handicap to the nutritive plant that is necessary to humans.
Although it’s not confirmed that climate change affects food production regressively, it is known that climate change has its influence on the U.S. agriculture system. As Elizabeth Marshall from the U.S. Department of Agriculture mentions,” Climate change poses a major challenge to U. S. agriculture because of the critical dependence of the agricultural system on climate and because of the complex role agriculture plays in rural and national social and economic”. Since climate change represents a threat to the United States and the world, the time to get involved in fighting climate change is now.