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Coronavirus and Climate Change

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Recently, people all over the world are truly shocked by a global crisis namely the Coronavirus. This disease has caused a tragic number of suffering, deaths, and unemployment. But it would be wrong if we think that it is the only crisis that mankind is witnessing nowadays. There is another topic at the forefront of public conversation; that is global climate change. Now all the spotlights of the world have naturally moved away from environmental crisis because of the severity of the pandemic. But climate change and global warming require no less attention. According to some people, the impacts of climate change could be even more awful and disastrous. There are other groups of people who believe that there must be some relation between climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Climate change is increasing the risks of getting infected-

 

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Climate change often creates favorable conditions for the transmission of different infections diseases such as waterborne diseases, mosquito-borne diseases, and Lyme disease. Changes in seasonal temperature and rainfall patterns often help in the appearance of pathogens. Though there is no direct evidence that climate change is affecting the transmission of COVID-19. But we all know that the consequences of climate change affect the health of every species on the planet in several ways. The life of every human being depends on nature, plants, and animals that they live with. If there is any drastic change in climate and the lives on earth, it will surely affect our health.

 

As a result of global warming, a large number of animals from tropical countries tend to move towards the poles to get rid of the heat. Destruction of animal habitations like deforestation is another cause of animal migration. When many animals come into contact, it creates opportunities for pathogens to find more new hosts. In West Africa, the Ebola epidemic occurred partly because of deforestation. The bats that carried the virus were forced to leave their habitats because forests were cut down by people to grow palm oil trees. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and make the air fresh and breathable. Deforestation also increases the carbon dioxide and other harmful particles in the air.

 

Like influenza virus, adenovirus, etc. coronavirus is also carried on air particles. Recent research at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has found that poor air quality of a place increases the mortality of people living in that area. Breathing fresh, clean air has an important role to create strong immunity. Now everyone knows that there are high chances of being affected by respiratory problems for people who are exposed to polluted air. And people with respiratory problems are more vulnerable to coronavirus. During the SARS epidemic, researchers proved that air pollutants increase the death risks from that disease. SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 both belong to the coronavirus family. Hence, there are similarities in the transmission method of both viruses.

 

Read Also: The Business Impact of Climate Change and Ways To Combat It

 

What we can do now to resist future outbreaks-

 

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Climate change and the global healthcare system are not two completely separate issues. Taking climate actions may help in the prevention of the next pandemic. We should prevent deforestation to reduce climate change and slow the rate of animal migration. The burning of fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases in the air. These gases not only change the climate of our planet but also affect our lungs. To protect ourselves from respiratory diseases like coronavirus we must keep our lungs healthy by breathing fresh air. We should limit greenhouse gas emissions by generating electricity from renewable energy sources. These low-carbon sources of energy release almost no air pollutants like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, etc.

 

Strong immunity and maintenance of health and hygiene create a strong resistance to stop an outbreak of any disease. A healthy diet, a pollution-free environment will bring down the risks of being affected. We should also raise funds to improve the public healthcare system. More researches should be done to make an early response to limit the risks of future outbreaks.

 

People are now becoming aware of the impacts of climate change and environmental pollution on our health. In India during Diwali burning firecrackers have been reduced a lot to save the climate and to save the health of the people from being affected by respiratory syndromes of coronavirus.

 

Impacts of climate change on the communities who are most at-risk-

 

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People who have respiratory problems and chronic health conditions like cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc. are always most at-risk. Aged people and little children are also vulnerable to coronavirus. People who are exposed to higher levels of air pollution such as African American people have higher mortality rates from coronavirus diseases like COVID-19. Poor people have also a high risk of dying as they cannot afford the costs of COVID tests, doctors’ checkups, medication, and hospitalization.

 

Now health officials also need to talk about climate change-

 

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There is an interconnection between everything and everyone in the world. If one species of a plant or an animal is in danger, our existence on earth will also be at stake. So, we must be extra cautious about the environment and biodiversity of our planet. Our health is wholly dependent on the climate of the place where we live. Now several pieces of research are being done to address the danger of pathogen spillover from different animals into human beings. Many healthcare officials are now talking about the necessity of the implementation of climate solutions. It is high time to combat climate change and safeguard the ecosystems of our planet to prevent another outbreak in the future. Some researchers are now claiming that the steps we need to follow to fight against climate change are the same steps we should follow to make people healthier. The World Health Organization (WHO) also estimates that reduction of environmental risk factors can efficiently prevent global health burden at a large scale.

 

In one of his articles, Bill Gates has written, “as awful as this pandemic is, climate change could be worse.” He has also added, “…as the world works to stop the novel coronavirus and begin recovering from it, we also need to act now to avoid a climate disaster by building and deploying innovations that will let us eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions.”

 

In the past, many health officials had tried to aware us of the inevitability of a pandemic. Still, we had not enough preparations. The same story may repeat for climate change as well. Now climate scientists are trying to make us aware of the serious impacts of the climate crisis. If we don’t start taking action now, there are innumerable possibilities of repeating the same mistake with climate change.

 

Read Also: How to Conserve Nature through Waste Reduction

What Should I do Now?

1. Calculate your Carbon Footprint if you haven’t

2. Fund Projects that interest you and Erase your Carbon Footprint

3. Contribute to Crowdfunding Projects 

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