Here at home, climate change is affecting crop production in Australia. As a matter of fact, this phenomenon can be extended to the entire world. Climate change is affecting our health statuses, and its immediate impacts can be seen in the risks posed to the world’s food supplies. However, these impacts are the greatest upon the poorest, and consequently, the hungriest populations in the world.
Researchers have confirmed that the current status of climate change is a direct result of human beings’ past and present actions, or at least, Earth’s warming in the last 50 years can be attributed to our actions. The direct causation is so strong, such that a new era is named – the Anthropocene – an epoch that arose as a direct result of the human race’s actions.
Welcome to the Anthropocene
Undeniably, climate change is a problem that is brought about by today’s affluent and developed nations. And yet, it is the world’s poorest, that will bear the greatest burden of climate change, simply because they do not have the resources to compete for the decreasing food supply, nor do they have the capacity to remove themselves from their current predisposition – poverty.
In an collective effort to reduce inequalities in the world, the United Nations had formulated the 8 Millennium development goals. Right at the top of the list is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The world has made great strides in doing so. In fact, the target of halving the population living under conditions of extreme poverty has been achieved 5 years ahead of the 2015 deadline.
However, the World Bank has cautioned that climate change can reverse what had been achieved. Increasing surface temperature that causes droughts, floods, extreme weather and rising sea levels can result in crop failure, consequently causing severe destitution in populations that are still living in poverty or are gradually breaking out of the poverty cycle. Increasing food scarcity is one of the first direct consequences of global warming and its effects will be evident in the next two decades.
The richest and the poorest countries live on the same planet, and yet, we face diseases on both extremes of the continuum. The richest countries are plagued with lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes, as its people eat more than is required for sustenance. On the other extreme, the poorest countries are perishing as a result of hunger, malnutrition and under-nourishment. These are merely one of the direct causes of unequal statuses in affluence and power. Constantly having to worry about the availability of the next meal hampers economic development and consequently, disallows the poor from obtaining resources to resolve their food issues. And the vicious cycle continues.
Food scarcity and its negative impacts on health are one of the factors that will affect the poorest. In struggle to survive, many of the poorest people have to resort to desperate measures to procure food. As a matter of fact, military researchers now regard climate change as a security threat. However the situation is not as simple as it first appears, there are many consequences to the health of people other than the obvious lack of food leading to malnutrition and death.
To put it crudely, the worst outcome is death. However, in these poorest regions, not only is the health and well-being of people affected by biomedical factors (poor or non-existent diet), but their psychological welfare is affected by security threats and the constant struggle to survive, their socioeconomic statuses are affected by the poverty cycle and more. It is not as simple as one thinks. The plethora of effects of climate change is multi-faceted, and honestly, it is unbelievable that there are individuals who still believe that climate change is unreal and merely a government conspiracy.
For more information on climate change and its impacts on the world’s poorest:
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