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Global Pandemics and Climate Change

In December 2019, new pneumonia-like cases were beginning to spread all over in Wuhan, China. No treatments were helping these peculiar cases and it started to spread more and more throughout the Asian region. Rumors started to go around that it originated similarly to the bubonic plague, where the virus outbreak came from bats, while others say that it came from a lab accident, some saying that it was another SARS case. But eventually as the 2010s came to an end and a new decade began, we would all experience the new era in human history that we now know as the coronavirus pandemic. Quite a happenstance that all of this started at the beginning of a new decade, almost like if it was all planned or was a scheme by some government to probably start another world or cold war which was another theory that some people had. In all seriousness, it was a devastating time and a low point that our world has faced. The way we go to school and went to work completely changed overnight. The entertainment and film industry suffered tremendously and are still experiencing those repercussions to this day, and other businesses were being effected too. Bottomline, for better or for worse, we all need to except the reality that we live in, even if our planet is dying or our species is being wiped out into extinction.

But on that topic, do global pandemics and climate change have any relation with each other?

Well to understand that, we have to know how the environment can cause the spread of germs and sicknesses. And there is a lot of what the environment can do to harm our health. Environmental pollutants can cause severe health problems like respiratory and heart diseases  and some cancers. More than 12 million people around the world die in unhealthy environments. Low income people and poor nations are the most vulnerable in this case since they probably don’t have access to clean air, soil, or water or any of the proper resources to live a healthy sustainable lifespan. Every time we go outside, we are constantly exposing ourselves to airborne germs that float in the air. Not many of us may catch these germs since nowadays, we get the proper vaccines and medicines when we are very young and throughout our lives as we grow we develop immunities that can help protect us from the little things that really should not make us sick. But not all bodies are the same. For others, some people may have certain allergies that may need constant attention. Some of us can get sick during certain changes in the weather as our body tries to adapt to constant change. We may catch allergies in the spring time or catch a fever when it’s really cold in the fall or winter. All this in the grander scheme of things is also caused by our climate.

Deforestation is one factor that can contribute to pandemics like COVID. If people tear down forests for agricultural reasons, it’s still a huge loss of natural habitats forcing animals to leave and come into contact with other species where more germs can be spread. This is especially bad for farmers and barn animals as that’s where the most diseases can thrive. No wonder throughout the pandemic there has been some cases of certain meats and dairy products being contaminated with the virus making shoppers, even more sick with the outbreak and a major waste of foods and crops being thrown right back down to the landfill.

It is commonly known that most viruses tend to slow down in warmer seasons and climates but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fully gone. Sure, throughout the summers of the pandemic years here in New York City and the tri-state area, many people felt comfortable going back to crowded spaces and thought the lockdown was over and that only created more variants like the omicron variant. New York, being a big city, would only mean that a lot of disease spreads can be constant, the most widespread and the hardest to control or regulate. On top of that there is usually a lot of big urban areas with several pollutants which does not help the case of preventing pandemics in our ever changing climate at the slightest.

The wildfires from Canada caused by climate change induced arid conditions over the summer greatly impacted the environment of the east coast and made catching colds and ear and throat infections over the summer a tremendous bummer for most people like myself. So what do we need to do with our environment and with climate change, in order to prevent future pandemics like the one we experienced in 2020?

Well for one thing, federal, state and local agencies should really begin to fund science research in preventing these kinds of outbreaks and other ways in making the Earth a more sustainable place to live in. We should also prevent or make it illegal for wildlife trade to be popular in most places in the world. An ecosystem cannot thrive without living organisms such as animals feeding and teeming off from them. In fact, we should really try to encourage more wildlife restoration by helping endangered animals survive by insuring their safety in their natural habitats and protecting their homes from those who want to profit off from literally destroying them. This also goes for our farms too. Keeping your animals in confined spaces will prevent their diseases from spreading as opposed to  letting them roam free where they might come into contact with an outside parasite. When we help our animals and their living habitats, we are one step closer into solving the other problems in our world.

With the protection of our animals, we must also be aware of the impact of machines on our environments. We of course need to find a way to lower greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides, most of which causes  harmful smog that encourages common diseases like obesity, diabetes, asthma and can be the cause to many premature deaths. With this, we also need to make healthy eating and diets more accessible to more people who may be in dire need of that. With the possibility of another economic recession on the way, we all must be ready for worser things to come but we still can’t just give up on our planet. This is the only home we have and we have to do everything in our power to make sure our species doesn’t meet the same fate as endangered animals because soon we may be the only species left on this planet and we can’t survive like this on our own. I hope that if our economy does get better in the future, and if we get a lot of smart working heads, we can become more dedicated to building a better workforce so that we can make our planet better than it has ever been before.

 

SOURCES:

https://health.gov/healthypeople/objectives-and-data/browse-objectives/environmental-health#:~: text=Environmental%20pollutants%20can%20cause%20health,and%20some%20types%20of%20cancer.&text=People%20with%20low%20incomes%20 are,health%20problems%20related%20to%20pollution

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/c-change/subtopics/coronavirus-and-climate-change/ #:~:text=Many%20of%20the%20root%20causes,or%20people%20and%20share%20germs.

https://www.webmd.com/covid/coronavirus-heat 

Comment on this article

ClimateYou moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (New York time) and can only accept comments written in English.

2 Responses

  1. Environmental protection is an act most, if not all, parts of the world should be taking. Looking back throughout the pandemic and reading this blog, seeing the relation between environmental damages and the spread of germs between us and animals only proves how vulnerable we really are to wildlife. The difficulty we had containing and preventing the spread of COVID showed the force of the virus, and having little to no proper treatment at the height of it all. Just imagine what more viruses are out there that we have no knowledge or protection against, which explains how climate change can come back to haunt us if we don’t take proper care of our Earth.

  2. I once heard somewhere that viruses from prehistory can be unearthed again from the very fossils that come from them. Knowing of the possibility of a deadly disease from long before the time humans coming back to endanger modern life without no way how to combat it is a thought that scares me.

    -Avar

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