How Climate Change May Affect Your Health
No matter where you live or how high your socioeconomic status, climate change can endanger your health, both physical and mental, now and in the future.
Melting ice caps, warmer oceans, intense storms, heat waves, droughts, floods and wildfires — all these well-documented effects of climate change may seem too remote to many people to prompt them to adopt behaviors that can slow the warming of the planet. Unless your neighborhood was destroyed by a severe hurricane or raging wildfire, you might think such disasters happen only to other people.
But what if I told you that no matter where you live or how high your socioeconomic status, climate change can endanger your health, both physical and mental, now and in the future? Not only your health, but also the health of your children and grandchildren? Might you consider making changes to help mitigate the threat?
Relatively few Americans associate climate change with possible harms to their health, and most have given little thought to this possibility. Even though I read widely about medical issues, like most Americans, I too was unaware of how many health hazards can accompany climate change.
Studies in the United States and Britain have shown that “people have a strong tendency to see climate change as less threatening to their health and to their family’s health than to other people’s health,” according to Julia Hathaway and Edward W. Maibach at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University.
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