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The health effects of climate change

2-12-2019

Adna Tabich, Staff Writer

Most people think about climate change as a concept for the future. However, it has become  something we have to deal with right now. The earth’s climate has drastically changed due to human activity and perhaps it’s time we recognize how our actions contribute to the change, and how it affects us.

Through our burning of fossil fuels, green houses gasses are emitted into the atmosphere. Other activities, though not as prevalent, like agriculture and deforestation also help add to the widespread problem. The change in the climate isn’t just affecting the earth, but us as well. Changes in temperature threaten our safety. With consistently warmer temperatures and drought we run the risk of forest fire that can spread. Warmer temperatures also hold more moisture in the air which results in extreme rainfall and flooding.

These extreme weather and rainfall conditions can just as likely lead to the spread of bacterial infections, on top of flooding. Flooding leads to mixing of storm water and sewage, which, in turn, contaminates crops that contribute to foodborne diseases. While there are far more issues to address, these remain at the front.

Luckily, as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, US Representative for New York's 14th congressional district, says in her new green deal, there are plenty of things everyone can do to minimize their impact to the problem. “Green your commute,” or in other words, switch up the way you get places to do your part, whether that be public transit, on foot, or even, as Ocasio-Cortez mentions, flying less when driving is accessible. From consuming less waste to using your energy around the house more wisely, a big difference can be made. After all, small changes add up. Something that will help you stay away from contaminated meats while additionally helping the earth is focusing on meat-free meals, or at least buying the organic options.

There is the potential for a lot to be done to help slow down climate change. However, the unfortunate truth is that we can’t do anything to keep ourselves healthy unless we keep the earth healthy.