This week a group of experts warned the warming of planet Earth is “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.”
Their report is one of the latest to expound on the deepening environmental crisis, and one of the first to focus on the potential role of health-care professionals in ameliorating the problem.
“This is a bad diagnosis not just for children in different lands. It’s for our children and grandchildren,” Anthony Costello, a professor of international child health and director of the Institute for Global Health at University College London, said during a Wednesday teleconference. “Even the most conservative estimates are profoundly disturbing and demand action. Climate change raises an important issue of intergenerational justice, that we are setting up a world for our children and grandchildren that may be extremely frightening and turbulent.”
Climate change is now a fact of life on this planet.
“The vast majority of experts, 95 percent, maybe even 99 percent, agree that global warming is taking place,” said Kirby Donnelly, head of environmental and occupational health at Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health. “The big issue is the model: When will global warming become a problem?”
Amongst the health problems mentioned that could arise are heat waves, a decline in crop yields, water shortages and extreme climatic events such as flash flooding and melting ice sheets. Also climate changes could result in more severe cyclones and hurricanes, all of which can cause health conditions and loss of lives.
“This is a problem that affects the entire planet, and the longer it takes ‘us,’ the people on this planet, to take action, the more difficult it will be to resolve the problem,” Donnelly said. “We urgently need to take at least minimal action to try to reduce emissions and move toward taking more significant action to reduce global warming.”