The Health Threats of Climate Change
Health Impacts of Climate Change
Changes in the greenhouse gas concentrations and other drivers alter the global climate and bring about myriad human health consequences. Environmental consequences of climate change are such as extreme heat waves, rising sea-levels, changes in precipitation resulting in flooding and droughts, intense hurricanes, and degraded air quality, affect directly and indirectly the physical, social, and psychological health of humans. For instance, changes in precipitation are creating changes in the availability and quantity of water, as well as resulting in extreme weather events such as intense hurricanes and flooding. Climate change can be a driver of disease migration, as well as exacerbate health effects resulting from the release of toxic air pollutants in vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and those with asthma or cardiovascular disease.
Certain adverse health effects can be minimized or avoided with sound mitigation and adaptation strategies. Strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change can prevent illness and death in people now, while also protecting the environment and health of future generations. Mitigation refers to actions being taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to enhance the sinks that trap or remove carbon from the atmosphere. Adaptation refers to actions being taken to lessen the impact on health and the environment due to changes that cannot be prevented through mitigation. Appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies will positively affect both climate change and the environment, and thereby positively affect human health. Some adaptation activities will directly improve human health through changes in our public health and health care infrastructure.
Climate change is expected to affect air quality through several pathways, including production and allergenicity of allergens and increase regional concentrations of ozone, fine particles, and dust. Some of these pollutants can directly cause respiratory disease or exacerbate existing conditions in susceptible populations, such as children or the elderly. Some of the impacts that climate change can have on air quality include:
· Increase ground level ozone and fine particle concentrations, which can trigger a variety of reactions including chest pains, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion, as well as reduce lung function and cause inflammation of the lungs
· Increase carbon dioxide concentrations and temperatures, thereby affecting the timing of aeroallergen distribution and amplifying the allergenicity of pollen and mold spores
· Increase the frequency of droughts, leading to increased dust and particulate matter
Adaptation and Mitigation
· Mitigating short-lived contamination species that both air pollutants and green house gases, such as ozone or black carbon. Examples include urban tree covers or rooftop gardens in urban settings
· Decreasing the use of vehicle miles traveled to reduce ozone precursors
· Utilizing alternative transportation options, such as walking or biking, which have the co-benefit of reducing emissions while increasing cardiovascular fitness and contributing to weight loss. However, these activities also have the potential to increase exposure to harmful outdoor air pollutants, particularly in urban areas.
Heat-Related Morbidity and Mortality
Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can cause heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat stroke, and death, as well as exacerbate pre existing chronic conditions, such as various respiratory, cerebral, and cardiovascular diseases. These serious health consequences usually affect more vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and those with existing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Socioeconomic factors, such as economically disadvantaged and socially isolated individuals, are also at risk from heat-related burdens. As global temperatures rise and extreme heat events increase in frequency due to climate change we can expect to see more heat-related illnesses and mortality. Public health systems need to be prepared for extreme events and responses will demand a concerted effort among the public health community, the medical establishment, emergency responses teams, the housing authority, and law enforcement in order to quickly identify and serve the populations vulnerable to extreme heat events.
· Increased temperatures and increase in extreme heat events cause heat exhausting, heat stroke, and death, especially in vulnerable populations.
· High concentrations of buildings in urban areas cause urban heat island effect, generation and absorbing heat, making the urban center several degrees warmer than surrounding areas.
Mitigation and Adaptation
· Heat early warning systems and proactive heat wave response plans
· Increased air conditioning use
· Decreased time spent outdoors during extreme heat events
· Increased use of sun-shielding clothing
Vector borne Diseases
Vector borne diseases are infectious diseases whose transmission involves animal hosts or vectors. Vector borne diseases, such as malaria, are those in which an organism, typically insects, ticks, or mites, carry a pathogen from one host to another, generally with increased harmfulness (virulence) of the pathogen in the vector. Vector borne diseases that are found in warmer climates and vulnerable due to global trade and travel.
· Changes in temperature and precipitation directly affect Vector borne diseases through pathogen-host interaction, and indirectly through ecosystem changes and species composition.
· As temperatures increases vectors can spread into new areas that were previously too cold. For example, two mosquito vectors that carry malaria are now found at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mitigation and Adaptation
· Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to influence local ecological environment, thereby altering the life cycles of certain disease vectors and animals
· Preserving forests and wetlands to affect ecology and transmission cycles
· Developing and implementing early warning systems to reduce exposure to environmental hazards and limit susceptibility in exposed populations
The Chief Software Architect
Bill Gates is an American business magnate and computer programmer who is the co-founder of Microsoft, the world’s largest PC software company. Since the company’s formation in 1975, Gates has held several positions including those of the chairman, CEO and chief software architect. One of the most famous entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution, he has been consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people starting from 1987. Born as the son of a successful lawyer, Bill Gates was encouraged from a young age to be competitive. Bright and curious, he developed an interest in computers while in school and wrote his first computer program as a young teenager. After completing his schooling, he enrolled at the prestigious Harvard College though he did not stay there long enough to complete his studies. He dropped out to pursue his passion in computers and teamed up with Paul Allen, a former schoolmate, to form Microsoft. The company proved to be highly successful and within years Gates became an internationally known entrepreneur. Currently the wealthiest person in the world, he is a renowned philanthropist who along with his wife has created the charity organization "Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation”. He has also authored and co-authored several books.
Childhood & Early Life:
Born as William Henry Bill Gates III on October 28, 1955, he is the son of William H. Gates, Sr. and Mary Maxwell Gates. His father was a prominent lawyer while his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate Bank System and the United Way. He has two sisters. He studied at the Lakeside School where he developed an interest in computing. He was just 13 when he wrote his first software program on the school’s computer and by the time he was in high school he, along with some of his friends, had computerized their school’s payroll system.
His future business collaborator, Paul Allen, was a senior at Lakeside. At the age of 17, Gates teamed up with Allen to form a venture called Traf-O-Data, to make traffic counters based on the Intel 8008 processor. He graduated from high school in 1973. He was a National Merit Scholar and scored 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT. He enrolled at Harvard College later the same year. As a college student he spent a lot of time on the computers though he was not much interested in studying other subjects. His friend Allen suggested that Bill drop out of college to start a business.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen collaborated to found Microsoft (initially called Micro-Soft) in 1975. In the beginning they adapted BASIC, a popular programming language for use on microcomputers. It proved to be a success and they continued to develop programming language software for various systems. In 1980, the duo was approached by International Business Machine (IBM) with a proposal that Microsoft write the BASIC interpreter for IBM’s upcoming personal computer, the IBM PC. Microsoft created the PC DOS operating system which they delivered to IBM in exchange for a one-time fee of $50,000. Soon Microsoft’s operating systems became very popular and the company introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985, as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS. Over the following years Windows came to dominate the world’s personal computer market acquiring over 90% market share. The company saw phenomenal financial success, and being the company’s largest individual shareholder, Bill Gates amassed a great fortune. Microsoft introduced Microsoft Office in 1989. The package integrated several applications like Microsoft Word and Excel into one system that was compatible with all Microsoft products. The success of MS Office gave Microsoft a virtual monopoly on operating systems for PCs. In the mid 1990s when the use of the internet spread throughout the globe at an alarming speed, Gates focused Microsoft on the development of consumer and enterprise software solutions for the Internet. Windows CE operating system platform and the Microsoft Network were among the innovative solutions developed during this time. In January 2000, Gates stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft though he retained his position as chairman. He created the new position of Chief Software Architect for himself. Over the next few years he gradually transferred his duties to others at Microsoft and started spending more time in philanthropic works. He stepped down as Chairman of Microsoft in February 2014, and currently serves as technology advisor to support CEO Satya Nadella.
Bill Gates is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft, the multinational technology company which is today considered one of the world's most valuable companies. It is the world’s largest software maker measured by revenues
Awards & Achievements:
In 2002, Bill and Melinda Gates received the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged. Gates received the Bower Award for Business Leadership from The Franklin Institute in 2010 in recognition of his achievements at Microsoft and his philanthropic work. Bill and Melinda Gates jointly received India’s third highest civilian honor Padma Bhushan in 2015 for their foundation's philanthropic activities in India.
In 1999, he donated US$20 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the construction of a computer laboratory which was named the “William H. Gates Building” in his honor. Along with his wife, Melinda, Bill Gates formed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF or the Gates Foundation) in 2000. It is the largest private foundation in the world and aims to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty worldwide. In 2010, Gates along with fellow billionaire investors Warren Buffett, and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg signed the “Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge”, committing to donate at least half of their wealth over the course of time to charity.