Climate Change is one of the biggest threats humanity has ever faced. By all accounts, and if not mitigated, it will have a devastating impact on life as we know it: rising sea levels that inundate coast lines causing mass migration on a level never experienced before; draughts and floods disrupting food systems; and, the mass extinction of animal species.
But it doesn’t stop there. Bill Gates recently said that “if we’re going to prevent a climate disaster, climate-specific interventions and solutions aren’t enough. We need to be thinking about the indirect effects, too, like how a warmer planet will affect global health”.
We notice extreme climate events. Floods, heat waves, burning forests and droughts capture the headlines. Cyclone Amphan that recently hit India’s coast and neighboring Bangladesh, is the kind of storm, that scientists warn will become more frequent with climate change. But the health effects of climate change go well beyond these visible events. Are we guilty of discounting the longer-term (both direct and indirect) impacts of climate change on health? Are we failing to plan for them? To some extent, yes. There is a real danger if we continue doing so.