Climate change: impact on human health and food security

Climate change influences daily human life

Climate change has a major impact on many aspects of human life. Droughts, forest fires, floods and other natural disasters are changing the human habitat to a great extent. The effects of climate change will be felt more and more in everyday human life, including health and food production.

Climate change and food security

Food security, which deals with access to food and its availability to the public, is not a new topic. Considering that around 815 million people worldwide are starving (FAO 2015, The State of Food Insecurity in the World), so they have no secure access to food, the climate change can bee seen as a further aggravating factor for food security. The climate influences, directly or indirectly, the entire food supply chain of humans.

Changing the climate can affect access to food as well as the availability and use of food and the stability of the supply systems. This change, in turn, affects livelihoods and distribution routes, as well as human health and food production.

Agriculture is important for food security in two major ways: it produces the food people consume, and it is the major source of livelihood for a bigger part of the world. Agriculture, fisheries, and forestry are susceptible to the climate change. Generally, temperature regions will enjoy a positive impact compared to the tropical areas. The level of food production will have an impact on the food supply at both the local and international level. When there is a higher food yields in the temperature regions, the tropical regions will have a lower food yield.

In summary, environmental change increases the risks of hunger and under nutrition through:

  • Extreme weather events
    The environmental change increases the intensity of common disasters like floods, storms, hurricanes, and drought. This will then affect food securities as well as livelihoods. Disasters from climate change can destroy crops, affect infrastructure, destroy vital assets in the community, deteriorate livelihoods and also increase the poverty levels.
  • Long-term but gradual climate risks
    Climate change also increases the sea level, which will then impact livelihoods of people in the area. Rapid glacial melt can affect the reliability, quality, and availability of water. This will then have an effect on the flooding patterns and future dry spells.

Climate change – possible impact on human health

The influences of climate on human health are varied and significant. Exposure to health hazards related to these climate changes affects people in different communities in different ways. With the environmental change, the severity and frequency of weather and climate phenomena—like rising temperatures, drought, and heavy rains, and some other kinds of severe weather—are changing.

Climate change, therefore, can affect human health in two main ways:

  • By changing the severity of health problems that are already affected by climate or weather factors;
  • By creating unanticipated health concerns or health threats in places where they have not previously occurred.

Some harsh impacts can be diminished or prevented with sound measures. For example, disease and mortality in individuals can be reduced while environmental health can be improved for future generations. Further measures help to lessen ozone harming substance emanations and to upgrade the catching or expulsion carbon from the environment. Proper environmental action will positively influence both environmental change and nature, and subsequently affect the wellbeing of humans in a positive way.

The following diseases can be connected to an environmental change:

  • Respiratory disorders like asthma, as well as cardiovascular diseases.
  • Heat and weather-based disorders and death
  • Poor nutrition and food poisoning
  • Stress-related illness and mental disorders
  • Neurological Diseases and Disorders
  • Waterborne illness
  • Diseases of the musculoskeletal system, and cancer

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Related Links

ERIZON: Top Environmental Concerns

World Food Programme (WFP): World Food Programme

Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)

Wikipedia: Food Security

Wikipedia: Climate Change

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