Register here for the April 29 event Sick of Climate Change? Local Health Impacts in a Warming World.
This infographic gives an idea of some of the ways climate change makes us sick, and what it is about climate change that causes those health problems.
For each of the ovals above, the following give specific examples. Many of these are drawn from the book Fevered: Why a Hotter Planet Will Hurt Our Health and have been confirmed by comparison with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, Working Group II, Chapter 11, Human Health: Impacts, Adaptation, and Co-Benefits
Vector borne disease & pest species, expanded range and vigour
- tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease (numbers doubled in US since 1991) and HGA (human granulocytic anaplasmosis)
- Mosquito-borne such as West Nile
- Pollen seasons lasting longer, pollen more plentiful and contains more of the proteins that cause the allergies
- Noxious plants like poison ivy grow more vigorously
Death by overheating
- 70,000 deaths in Europe attributed to 2003 & 2005 heat waves
- 52,000 in Russia in 2010 (includes air quality deaths from forest fires)
Death due to storm etc.
- Winter storms trapping people
- Heavy rains, wind and sea conditions drowning people
- More tree damage and property damage resulting in death & injury
- More ice due to storms and freeze thaw cycles causing falls
Higher skin cancer rates
- Warmer temperatures mean more time spent outside, particularly in places like Ottawa
- While outside people will wear lighter clothing which gives them less sun protection
- In one study the number of cases of squamous cell carcinoma was 5.5% higher for every 1°C increment in average temperatures; basal cell carcinoma was 2.9% more common with every 1°C increase.
Hospitals damaged/closed – exactly when they are needed most
- Alberta flooding closed the High River hospital which took two months to fully reopen
- Trillium Hospital in Mississauga had power problems during 2013 downpours and flooding.
- Hospitals in New York during Sandy and in New Orleans during Katrina – some never reopened.
- Flood conditions often require working in waters contaminated with biologically and chemically dangerous materials
Asthma, allergies and air quality
- All are made worse by increased temperatures
- In particular many spores and pollens are found in increased densities in warmer environments
- heat influenced forest fires add smoke and pollution reducing air quality
- after flood events housing etc. is often subject to mold and mildew causing respiratory problems for residents
Drought, famine and food security
- Food growing regions such as California are already experiencing water shortages.
- Models predict many farming regions where drought is now an occasional problem may begin to desertify.
- Heat events have been associated with violence and crime
- depression following catastrophic events (several physicians took their own lives in the aftermath of Katrina)
- a study of Inuit mental health as relates to climate change
- generalized feeling of doom
- Defense establishments and immigration authorities are well aware of migration pressures and potential for social instability
- These issues are examined in depressing detail in Gwynne Dyer’s book Climate Wars