Climate and weather affect the survival and distribution of disease carrying insects and animals such as mosquitoes, ticks and rodents who carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease. Warmer and wetter environments are perfect conditions for mosquitoes to live and reproduce. As the Earth warms and precipitation increases, the mosquito population is also increasing and thriving resulting in an increase in illness and diseases that are carried by these insects. Climate change lengthens the warmer seasons allowing for more disease transmission and expansion of geographical ranges of diseases such as malaria and dengue.
The link between malaria and climate change has been studied over a long period of time in India. Studies have found that excessive monsoon and high humidity due to global warming greatly enhance mosquito breeding and survival which has shown to have increased the risk of a malaria epidemic by five times in the year after a year of warming (Shuman). Longer summers and shorter winters due to global warming mean that the die-off rate of disease carrying pests is much lower.
Because of lower die-off rates, areas that were once immune to diseases such as West Nile virus and malaria are seeing breakouts of these diseases. The Center of Disease Control found that over the past 12 years, flea, mosquito and tick-borne illness has more than tripled with more than 640,000 cases being seen (Amadeo). Lyme Disease is continuing to become a much larger and more serious issue than it was in the past with the disease now having spread to all 50 states.
The increase in cases of Hantavirus, spread by rodents, has also been said to be due to longer summers and shorter winters allowing for an increase in rodent populations. Elevated average temperatures have been associated with more frequent outbreaks. As well as illnesses from insects and other animals, the World Health Organization has reported higher numbers of diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis and hepatitis A.(Amadeo). Sufferers of these diseases come in contact with the bacteria and viruses from contaminated water which is the result of flooding sewage systems during floods. Another effect of the warming of the Earth is longer summers which lengthen allergy seasons. People who suffer from allergies and asthma are also paying for increased health care as a result of the increase of pollen production. The pollen season has increased by approximately 25 days between 1995 and 2015 which causes individuals with allergies and lung conditions to suffer with their illnesses for longer than in the past. Higher greenhouse gas levels encourage plants to produce more pollen as well as what is called a super pollen, which is considered to be larger and more allergenic and scientists predict that by 2040, pollen counts will double.There are many ways people can support the efforts to reduce global warming. One way individuals can decrease global warming is by reducing their energy consumption at home. This can be done by cutting their heating bill by living in smaller houses with good insulation, so less heat is needed to warm the house. Buying energy saving appliances as well as turning off lights and unplugging appliances when not being used can also help with cutting the amount of electricity that is used and although this is a small step, it can contribute to reducing climate change. People can reduce global warming by the way they drive. Buying energy efficient cars, keeping your car well kept, driving under 60 miles per hour and slowly accelerating after a stop are all ways to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses. Many cities are already implementing ways to cope and help reduce global warming that address impacts of heat waves, flooding and rising sea levels. The city of New York has painted more than 6 million building roofs with a white reflective coating that works to cool buildings which lowers the amount of energy needed for air conditioning. The city of Los Angeles is working on painting all of its streets with a lighter gray CoolSeal paint which will reduce the temperature of the city by 3 degrees Fahrenheit by 2038 (Amadeo). Other countries around the world are also working to combat global warming. The country of Columbia is working on developing coffee plants that are resistant to fungus and pests which will reduce the overall number of lost crops saving millions of dollars. China is working to combat the increase in clouding with sponge cities. The government of China has funded $12 billion in order to create 30 of these cities that will be reusing their water and almost three-quarters of their natural rainwater which will reduce the severity of flood damage and drought. The city of Miami Beach is also making huge strides to combat the effects of global warming and rising sea levels. A $500 million program was put into place to raise roads, install water pumps and redo sewer connections which will all have positive impacts on the community and work to avoid future damages caused by global warming. The reduction of greenhouse emissions needs to be greatly limited in the future. The Paris Climate Accord is working to limit global warming and is striving to eliminate coal as fuel used for electric generation by 2050 (Amadeo). The use of solar and wind power can be used to replace the need for coal and is a cleaner and renewable resource that won’t hurt the environment further. The state of California mandated that all electricity must be generated by carbon free sources by the year of 2045 and is requiring all new homes to have solar power by the year 2020 which will lower electricity usage and bills. The continued encouragement of adding cool or green roofs to buildings will also help use less energy than standard buildings. It is estimated that climate change and global warming have contributed to over 12.6 million deaths each year from the consequences of the slowly warming Earth, extreme weather and pollution. By 2030, it is predicted that the overall number of deaths will more than double. Because of the great health impacts climate change and global warming have on humans, it is important that strides be taken in order to reduce greenhouse emissions and improve the overall state of the Earth.
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