How Climate Change can affect our health

When we think about Climate Change, our mind jumps to the planet’s health and well-being. Although it is good to think of the planet’s wellness, we need to look at how it will affect our bodies and minds. Many of us have gained anxieties surrounding climate change and recognising that there are some things we may need to avoid to better the planet and ourselves. Gaining that knowledge of what is in some plastics and their effects on our air, and our bodies is a step forward in avoiding such things. 

Will our water become too polluted to drink? With the increase of pollution in our air due to emissions, we may face a high chance of our water becoming unsafe to drink. The increase in the Earth’s temperature can subsequently lead to diseases as our bodies could react badly to the drastic heatwaves that can follow from the temperature rise. As stated by the World Health Organization, diseases can be spread more frequently and easier through the water as the climate conditions will affect the quality; also, they mention that ‘cold-blooded’ insects will enable the spread of diseases through water.

NASA illustrates the dangers of chemical composition, the effect it has on the earth and our health. The increase in pollution results in causing the rise of smoke in our air continuing to linger. Due to air pollution, there could be a severe interruption to our respiratory system.

Let’s talk about the products on our shelves that are being produced. Bisphenol-A is a chemical found in many things, more than we know. Exposure to this chemical is harsh on our bodies because it is a chemical found in plastic, and it is unhealthy to be exposed to it. However, it is not easy to avoid—so many products such as cosmetics, water bottles and food packaging has it. There are many questions about this chemical, and as it is found in plastics, the overproduction of such can affect our air, making the pollution in our atmosphere hard to stop.

Being exposed to Bisphenol-A can be very harmful to us. That is why it is best to try to avoid products in packaging containing polycarbonate plastic, where the chemical Bisphenol-A is found and produced.

The Climate and Our Health

Studies have shown that air pollution can affect women’s health. There is likely an effect on a woman’s reproductive system. Our bodies response to climate change can result in an increase of health risks and a decline in reproduction. However, there is still very little research surrounding the different effects climate change has on men and women’s bodies; this is what we know today. 

Coming back to the hazard’s of Bisphenol-A, it has been studied that the plastics in the products we are surrounded by on a daily basis can have a serious impact on our reproductive systems. Chicks for Climate made a post directly about fertility and its decline in the past and coming years. The demonstration of the decline shows us that there has been a diminishing number of sperm counts in men from “1973 and 2011 by 59%.”

What I found important to note with Chicks for Climate’s post is the section where they articulate what we can do to help. Avoiding plastic as much as you can and be mindful of how we dispose of plastic. Avoid burning and heating plastics to prevent the release of emissions and harmful toxins in our air.

Credit: Markus Spiske

Climate Change and Mental Health

The growing fear and concerns for the Earth’s climate can lead to us feeling anxious and worried about not only the Earth’s future but then our lives and our future generations to come. 

Extreme weather events that happen today causes growing worry about what is to happen next. According to The American Psychiatric Association, “Extreme weather events have also been associated with increases in aggressive behaviour and domestic violence.” Taking from this, Climate Change and the anger and anxiety surrounding it may lead to abnormal behaviour. With the increase of risks, the fear of the situation is daunting and can lead to others feeling hopeless and helpless. Something suggested by The American Psychiatric Association that was striking to me was how the thoughts of Global Warming events happening around us today can cause stress. And what stress can lead to, such as coping mechanisms, i.e. alcohol consumption. Is this something that is not discussed enough? 

How can we cope with climate change? Looking after ourselves and our minds on the subject of Climate Change is important as we need to put our mental health on the top of the list for priorities. I found this article from 52 Climate Actions very useful and insightful. This article recognises that anxiety and grief for our climate can affect our mental health as it is a stress-inducing subject that is happening around us. However, reminding yourself that you are waking up to the issue and doing the best you can while trying to avoid burn out is significant in itself.

Making a constant effort and striving for sustainability can help ease your mind as you are consciously aware that you are taking action. It is important to note that we are not in control of others; therefore, being the best we can be for the planet is a major step forward, and you can inspire others to do the same on the way.

Alison Law
Alison Law

Alison is a college student and writer passionate about the environment, fashion, animals and coffee.

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