How is climate change related to chronic illness?
Everything is related to one another in this ever connecting web-of-life. What we do inevitably effects the climate, and what happens with the climate reflects back onto our bodies. And for those of us with chronic illnesses, having a stressed climate puts added stress on our already frail immune systems.
In 2008, the World Health Organization Director General Dr. Margaret Chan said that “Climate change endangers human health” (Medical News Today). Such a simple statement, yet such dramatic implications.
Most notably, illnesses affecting the lungs such as asthma and COPD greatly depend on air quality. Cities that have high smog levels are terrible for those with chronic lung sufferers. But even 50 years ago we didn’t see the number of asthmatic children as we do now!
The added heat from the sun takes it’s toll of people with multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia. The intense and bitter cold of an unusually frigid winter (much like we are expected to be faced with this winter!) will be felt in the bones of those with arthritis, and in the hands and feet of those with Reynaud. There are countless chronic illnesses, too many to even begin to list in a blog post, that are effected by the climate! But we feel every bit of the changes happening around us.
Epidemics threaten lives daily. Crops are destroyed in floods and forest fires causing widespread hunger. Drinking water supplies are deemed “unsafe” because of flooding or disease. Food supplies become contaminated because of a lack in pest control. And when we will stop and realize something must change?!?!
This planet is the only we have. While we search for water on Mars, we are still a long, long, long way from even conceptualizing living on that barren hunk of rock. For now, right at this moment, we need to look around – at the trees swaying in the fall breeze, at our children running through the grass, at the sun blazing in the afternoon sky – and protect it before it’s gone.