The rigorous strategies of the Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan have got people thinking about one thing: how much will this cost us. Millions? Billions? To be honest, probably a fair bit but what do you expect when we spent a half a century of our lives not caring about some of the most vital necessities of life. We over consume, we pollute and we do not know how to proportionately share the wealth of food and water. All these habits that are ingrained in us have caused significant impacts on the environmental health of the Earth and now are causing significant threats to human health and well-being. Climate change does not just change the way a river flows or how hot Toronto gets in the middles of summer but it is also directly causing issues with human health.
Think about it! When we pollute our land, water and air supply we are consequentially polluting our basic necessities of life. Without clean water people get sick or die of thirst, without sufficient food people starve or become malnourished and without clean air people develop asthma or breathing difficulties. As the climate continues to change there will be increasing instances of disease, extreme heat events and natural disasters such as floods. All of this change will result in a decreased production of food in the poorest regions, increased water pollution from storm and rain runoffs into our water supplies and therefore an increased reliability of using chemicals to sanitize our water. Not to mention that the rise in sea level will cause people who live on the coasts to vacate their homes.
Climatic conditions also strongly affect vector-borne and water-borne diseases. This means that the changes in our climate are affecting the geographical range of the disease and the length of the transmission seasons. Some dangerous diseases are strongly affected by climate, including Malaria and Lyme disease, and occurrences of these are likely to increase with the temperature.
And who will be most affected by climate change? Anyone living in Coastal and Polar Regions, megacities, developing states and areas with weak health infrastructures will suffer the most.
It would seem that climate change is not just about the environment, but also about the social and economic determinants of health; and we caused that.
So, really what is billions of dollars if it means that we can survive until the next generation?