Once, the movement of sea-waves resembled the crest and trough that danced smoothly on beats of the beach. Amidst the pleasant vibes of the sandy beach, the atmosphere at the blink of my eye switched corners. To my notice, I found people hurriedly rushing from the beach that reflected like a scene of water outbursts from jet streams.
The chaotic episode represented like an ecological thriller.
Reality threatened me.
My eyes glimpsed at the sea-waves. No more were they grooving on the beats placidly. Were they annoyed? Candidly yes. The waves depicted similar nature as that of human beings — mood swings. The waves shook hands with the evil and turned on their monstrous nature. Tsunami hits. And it was quite natural for everyone to run for their lives. Solidified by the climactic outburst’s destructive energy, my veins’ red blood swapped colors to blue, and high tides tried to engulf my life under its amplitude.
- Was I in the midst of my death?
- Will a walk on the beach ever be possible?
- Will I be able to save my life? I feared.
The words from my mouth gushed at the wavering speed. Amidst this tragic situation, my mother splashed water on my face only to make me realize that I was dreaming. Pinching myself, I parachuted in joy to find myself alive. Fortunately, the imaginative waves passed and caused no harm.
But think about what if our imagined reality really switched gear akin to the catastrophic event’s actual reality, then wouldn’t it impact our overall health? Wouldn’t our life be at a halt? Indeed, climate change disasters can bequeath human inhabitants under tremendous stress apart from its very nature of disrupting ecological harmony.
Climate change is no more a masked reality.
Unlike the dream that left me thrilled, the impact of climate change is no more a masked reality. Our humankind understands that climate changes can corrupt our planet earth and cause havoc on extant living species. Despite the knowledge, yet people harbor a negligent attitude towards nature that seems not to subside. Instead, the pace has risen with time.
“Taken as a whole,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states, “the extent of published evidence shows that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.”
Glacial outbreaks, global warming, melting of the polar ice-caps, floods, droughts, rise in oceanic temperatures, accelerated sea-level rise, intense heat waves, and forest fires — all together are some of the physical impacts fueled by climate change. These results are well-documented in our ecological history. But who cares about the environment? Until a disaster like a global pandemic shakes humanity from its roots.
Sudden cataclysmic disasters hint to us that the outrageous effects of climate change have a widened and a deepening base. The repercussions extend beyond their physical nature. It also affects ecosystems and communities around the world. Our utility, things we value, and on which sustainability depends upon like a healthy ecosystem, water, energy, agriculture, wildlife, transportation, and human health — all face the snowballing impacts of climate change.
No matter which demographic region we belong to, what age-group we hold, or how high is our socioeconomic status, climate-related changes have their impacts equally distributed. Their consequences are to bore by the entire living forms existent, including the tiny little crawling creatures.
Climatic change endangers our overall health.
Both now and in the future, climate changes can send shockwaves to our physical and mental health. And the reality of my dream made it evident to me and aroused conscious awareness of climatic behaviors’ impacts more than ever.
Studies showed that intense climate-related disasters, including hurricanes, droughts, destructive wildfires indicate that our avoidance of addressing climate issues causes suffering and death.
In recent years, wildfires hit the headlines as they blazed across the West, burning a million acres of land, according to the National Interagency Fire Centre. The wildfires forced people to flee from their homely landscape, and the smoke from fires threatened the lungs of thousands of people situated miles away.
Wildfire smoke has extremely harmful effects on the lungs, especially in children, older adults, and those with asthma, chronic heart disease, bronchitis, or diabetes. Wildfires threaten our lives directly, and wildfire smokes chokes our health. Also, due to human-inflicted changes, the pollution level is soaring, which induces life-threatening risks.
The study published in JAMA Neurology mentions long-term exposure to air pollution is related to cardiovascular disease and can increase the risk of dementia. Studies depict that people who avoid paying attention to climate change become serious when its consequences start impacting their health.
With the warming of the climate, infectious diseases like encephalitis, Lyme disease, dengue fever, malaria, and more carried by mosquitoes, ticks, and other vectors will impact our living system. Intense heatwaves append to mental health trauma by causing depression, anxiety, and worse, even suicide. And more heatwaves imply an increase in allergic seasons that will interfere with working capacity, disturb sleep quality, and hamper an individual’s overall development.
Climate change also fosters the breeding of organisms causing microbial contamination in the water bodies that directly reduces our drinking water quality. The safety of the cooked food also becomes a potential threat as the water remains contaminated. It might lead to food poisoning, cause malnutrition, and the overall impact threatens sustainability as a whole.
Mitigating efforts build a healthier future.
Climate-related disasters can wake us from our dreams. They can leave us with devastating memories causing psychological injury. Although weather-related disasters are slightly unpredictable, addressing the issues begins if concerns remain initiated from an individual front.
“Change only happens when individuals take action,” says Aliya Haq, deputy director of NRDC’s Clean Power Plan initiative. “There is no other way if it doesn’t start with people.”
The purpose of mitigation is to avoid human interference with the climate system. The practices are developed to “stabilize greenhouse gas levels in a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, ensure the safety of food production, and sustainably enable economic development” from a 2014 report on Mitigation of Climate Change.
How about starting with our dietary habits? Relying on plant-based foods and eating red-meat-free meals to reduce greenhouse gases can act as a safety valve for climatic health. One can also power their house with non-polluting renewable energy sources like efficient LED bulbs and install solar panels for a valuable electricity source.
In case you can’t, select a utility company certified by Green-e Energy, an organization that can provide you with renewable energy options. Likewise, avoid water or food waste. Healing the planet springs from our home.
Now let us focus on transportation. People must switch to fuel-efficient vehicles like electric cars that are economical and also shield the environment. For shorter distances, try commuting using people’s power like cycling or going on foot. Public transportation is also a good option. Not only will these commute activities alleviate the climate burdens but will also leave our health rewarded.
One can adopt the three R’s — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle for environmental impact assessment. When we minimize wastages, be that related to food, water, or other energy sources, our energy consumption also gets reduced. Thus we are likely to restore the unwasted amount for future generations. In combination, we can ensure a healthier and secure future for everyone.
Disasters born by climate changes are independent of our realizations. It doesn’t require a dream to make us aware that our nature is crying or a pandemic to hit, showing that its health is depleting. What it only requires is our conscious awareness — about how our negligent actions can voluminously corrupt the ecology.
On an individual level, I have sowed environment-friendly habits. Some practices that I cultivated include tree plantations, switching to renewable sources, reducing overconsumption, minimizing waste, recycling the wastes as compost or manures, and opt for healthy commuting options whenever possible.
The simple actions that we inhabit help create a green environment that is humankind’s best habitat and mother nature's healthy friend.