(ORDO NEWS) — In the first “Matrix” the end of the twentieth century is not by chance the peak of human civilization. In 1999, the world’s 6 billion people looked to the future with optimism, which cannot be said about today’s everyday life.
The COVID-19 pandemic is now in its third year, and the world is threatened not only by nuclear war, but also by famine. Add to this the effects of climate change, which, as scientists have recently found, makes diseases much more dangerous.
After analyzing more than 70,000 scientific papers on the impact of climate change on human health, researchers from the University of Hawaii Mamoa concluded that more than 58% of diseases were exacerbated due to global warming.
Drought, wildfires, floods, rising sea levels and changes in land cover have already led to the spread of diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi.
Heat and pathogens
This year, abnormally hot weather again hit the planet, and the highest temperature was recorded on July 14 in Portugal, where the thermometer needle rose to a record +47°C.
In Italy, during the first two weeks of July, the heat wave resulted in a 21% excess death rate. At the same time, the intensity and duration of heat waves is growing every year and greatly worries scientists.
The fact is that rising temperatures in different regions of the planet can lead to the migration of mosquitoes (disease carriers), and dangerous bacteria due to floods spread at an unprecedented rate.
What’s more, the pathogens themselves are getting stronger – they too need to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.
Alas, climate change brings people closer to pathogens
The rapidly changing environment is forcing wild animals to come into contact with humans, passing them dangerous pathogens, be it bacteria, viruses or parasites.
Scientists call such diseases zoonoses because of their ability to cross the interspecies barrier.
As experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) note, “zoonoses make up a significant proportion of all identified and existing infectious diseases.”
Health and climate
Scientists have long known about the impact of climate on health. However, most research focuses on a few diseases (or one in the case of the novel coronavirus pandemic).
According to a major meta-analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change, 218 out of 375 diseases could be exacerbated by heat, sea level rise and wildfires.
(The full list of threats from climate change can be found here).
In the course of their work, a team of scientists from the University of Hawaii Mamoa reviewed more than 77,000 scientific articles on the connection between climate and infectious diseases and concluded that there are too many diseases and transmission routes, which means it will not be easy to adapt to climate change.
Ultimately, more than 58% of human diseases were analyzed, and 375 of them interacted in one way or another with a changing environment.
With climate change impacting more than 1,000 transmission routes for infections that are rapidly spreading around the planet, we have concluded that society will not be able to successfully adapt to the effects of global warming, highlighting the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide write the authors of the new study.
So, mosquitoes breed better after floods and storms, and rising temperatures contribute to increased rainfall. Together, these factors have resulted in mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, birds and mammals carrying deadly diseases such as Lyme disease and malaria. Pleasant little, agree.
Climate refugees forced to leave their homes due to the effects of global warming are another mode of transmission.
So, periods of intense heat help spread cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis, skin diseases, etc. At the same time, the pathogens themselves become stronger, and the immune response of the human body weakens.
The authors of the paper also point out that environmental change is forcing wild animals closer to people, and wildfires are driving bats and rodents into new areas, increasing the likelihood of transmission of Ebola and bubonic plague.
Recently, polio has been found in London’s sewage, and monkeypox continues to roam the planet. However, like COVID-19. On average, more than 200 diseases pose a threat to global health.
Drought and “hungry stones”
Alas, the effects of climate change are not limited to disease. A drought in the Horn of Africa in 2022 could lead to mass starvation, affecting between 14 and 20 million people, according to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).
Experts observe the current situation for the first time in the last 40 years, noting that the inhabitants of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia faced hunger.
The drought in Europe is also worrisome, where so-called “hungry stones” have recently been discovered – blocks of stone immured in rivers, on which inhabitants of previous centuries left warnings to future generations. It is believed that their appearance indicates a large-scale drought and subsequent famine.
On one of the “hungry stones” found in the shallow rivers of the EU, the inscription “Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine” is carved – “If you see me, cry.”
Moreover, droughts and famines, according to the records, occurred in 1417, 1616, 1707, 1746, 1790, 1800, 1811, 1830, 1842, 1868, 1892 and 1893.
The stones were also shown from the water in 1918 during the First World War.
However, this is not the first time “hungry stones” have appeared in recent years, and the European continent suffers from time to time from droughts and unbearable heat. It turns out that stones with a gloomy message will be found in subsequent years.
But there is one “but” – the current drought in Europe may be the strongest in the last 500 years. At the same time, a growing number of studies link intense and prolonged droughts to climate change.
But stones are not the only hidden relic that has appeared in European rivers due to drought. So, in June, a sunken barge from the Second World War surfaced on the surface of the Italian Po River, and a state of emergency was declared in the northern regions of the country due to abnormally high temperatures.
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