I left off with a discussion—actually a series of questions—related to “scale” and whether or not we should intervene, when everything that we are and do is PART of the global network already. Is it simply that we are being hubristic once again by seeing things from a strictly anthropomorphic view? Perhaps, it isn’t our place to succeed, but rather to secede to something more suited to what is yet to come… I’d like to think that it may be neither, rather that these global events will hasten our own evolution into a higher form. But I’m getting way ahead of my own series. Because today’s post is entirely from a human’s viewpoint and concerned with our own well being. Much of the information here is from an article written by the medical community in Nova Scotia, Canada. I start with some very interesting statistics. For instance, did you know that:
- Close to 8% of all non-accidental deaths in Canada are caused by air pollution resulting from by-products of burning fossil fuels.
- Following smog days, hospital admissions for respiratory problems increase by 6%, admissions of infants with respiratory problems increase by 15%.
- Forecasts show that without reductions in fossil fuel consumption, in 20 years there will be a 60% increase in particulate emissions with a corresponding increase in respiratory illnesses, hospitalization and health care costs.
A report by the US National Academies’ National Research Council, Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises, warns that people can expect “climate surprises” in the form of “large, abrupt and unwelcome regional or global climatic events,” including drought, floods, extreme heat, hurricanes, (how about unseasonal tornadoes?…) and rising sea levels. Dr. Paul Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, says the report indicates that “we’ve underestimated the rate of this change, we’ve underestimated the sensitivity of biological systems, we’ve underestimated the cost of global warming.”
Epstein and other authors published a paper in the Canadian Medical Association Journal where they suggested that the direct effects of climate change to humanity include: illness and deaths from heat waves, drought, floods, storms and the breakdown of systems in the aftermath of weather disasters. Indirect effects would include decreased crop productivity owing to pests and climate change, changing water availability, lower air quality, rising sea levels and animal-based diseases appearing in regions in which they had previously been unheard of.
I dedicate this Friday Feature page to the stellar websites and blogs devoted to educating us, challenging us and guiding us on climate change, some of which appear below. Please check them out and let me know of any sites you think should be included that I’ve neglected to include.
The David Suzuki Foundation on Climate Change
Environment Canada’s page on Climate Change
The International Institute for Sustainable Development on Climate Change and Energy
Climate of Our Future
Climate Change Action
Talk Climate Change
Global Climate Change
Global Warming: early warning signs
Global Warming Blog
Global Warming Futurist