Climate Change and Health


Climate change can impact health directly and indirectly:

1. Heat (can result in heat stroke)
2. Higher incidence of infectious diseases (vector-borne diseases) like malaria and dengue as areas become warmer and more suitable for mosquitoes to breed
3. Higher incidence of water-borne diseases like typhoid fever, cholera due to more rain – which result in unclean, waterlogged conditions.
4. Harvest losses can lead to malnutrition and starvation

The chain reaction climate change is MASSIVE, but proactive policies and actions can be made to mitigate the impacts.

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Solar Ovens – ensuring food is cooked

“Because of the expenses of gas, it’s cheaper to use the solar ovens and using natural energy from the sun,” Esthel said in Spanish through a translator.

A small number of communities in the Dominican Republic are buying solar ovens to cook their meals, avoiding cooking with gas stoves or wood that present financial and health problems.

Sometimes we forget that ensuring food security is not just about having sufficient food supply, but the people also need the means to be able to cook the food for consumption. This also contributes to a country’s food consumption.

Source: http://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/cooking-revolution-dominican-republic-communities-change-lifestyles-solar-ovens

In richer countries where food security/food safety is not usually as much a problem, solar ovens or sun cooking is also used as an environmental-friendly/off-grid option:

SUN OVENS INTERNATIONAL is committed to providing an alternative to cooking with wood and charcoal in deforested developing countries that have been blessed with an abundance of sunshine.

SUN OVENS® can have an enormous impact on the everyday life of millions of people by:

1. Reducing the demand on forests.

2. Reducing health hazards.

3. Improving women’s conditions

Source: https://www.sunoven.com/sun-cooking-usa/benefits/

 

Inside the Haiti Earthquake (interactive game)

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This interactive game simulates the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti Quake from the perspective of 3 stakeholders – Aid Worker, Survivor and Journalist.

Experience the difficulties of the groups in pursuing their goals and understand the implications of their choices and actions.

Flash is needed for this simulation.

Warning: the simulation contains graphic and disturbing imagery.

Source: http://www.insidedisaster.com/experience/

 

 

 

 

Haiti Quake: NGOs may not always be helpful on the ground

Failures of aid.

In late 2011, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-dollar project to transform the desperately poor area, which was hit hard by the earthquake that struck Haiti the year before. The main focus of the project — called LAMIKA, an acronym in Creole for “A Better Life in My Neighborhood” — was building hundreds of permanent homes.

Today, not one home has been built in Campeche. Many residents live in shacks made of rusty sheet metal, without access to drinkable water, electricity or basic sanitation. When it rains, their homes flood and residents bail out mud and water.

The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six.

Why the failure despite the massive outpouring of donations to the American Red Cross? 
1. an overreliance on foreigners who could not speak local languages (French or Creole)

The Red Cross said it has “made it a priority to hire Haitians” despite lots of competition for local professionals, and that over 90 percent of its staff is Haitian. The charity said it used a local human resources firm to help.

Yet very few Haitians have made it into the group’s top echelons in Haiti, according to five current and former Red Cross staffers as well as staff lists obtained by ProPublica and NPR.

That not only affected the group’s ability to work in Haiti, it was also expensive.

2. the lack of expertise to mount its own projects

…the Red Cross ended up giving much of the money to other groups to do the work. Those groups took out a piece of every dollar to cover overhead and management. Even on the projects done by others, the Red Cross had its own significant expenses – in one case, adding up to a third of the project’s budget.

3. Prioritised publicity over aid?
Malany says the officials wanted to know which projects would generate good publicity, not which projects would provide the most homes.
4. Difficult local conditions (including governance)
“Like many humanitarian organizations responding in Haiti, the American Red Cross met complications in relation to government coordination delays, disputes over land ownership, delays at Haitian customs, challenges finding qualified staff who were in short supply and high demand, and the cholera outbreak, among other challenges,” the charity said.

Shrimp farming in Honduras

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While shrimp aquaculture has provided economic options in developing Latin American countries, the industry creates some environmental and social problems. Mangrove destruction degrades water quality, reduces habitat for fish (pitting shrimp farmers against those whose livelihood depends on fishing), increases the risk of inland flooding, and displaces coastal communities.

Eutrophication can also occur.

The ponds themselves can contaminate the surrounding environment with too many nutrients (from fish meal fed to the shrimp), waste, and antibiotic residues.

Shrimp farming can affect other fisheries as well.

Also, the industry relies heavily on wild-caught shrimp, either larvae that have reached a given level of maturity or else pregnant females, which are transferred to the protected ponds. When done on industrial scale, the harvesting of wild shrimp in the Gulf can harm other fisheries because the nets pull up fish or other aquatic creatures that die and are discarded. National and international programs are underway to make shrimp farming both economically viable and more environmentally sound.

Where do the shrimps we find in Singapore come from?
Are they farmed sustainably? Or do the same problems seen in Honduras occur?

Stop climate change by not wasting food

Reducing food waste around the world would help curb emissions of planet-warming gases, lessening some of the impacts of climate change such as more extreme weather and rising seas, scientists said on Thursday.

Up to 14% of emissions from agriculture in 2050 could be avoided by managing food use and distribution better, according to a new study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

“Agriculture is a major driver of climate change, accounting for more than 20% of overall global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010,” said co-author Prajal Pradhan.

“Avoiding food loss and waste would therefore avoid unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate climate change.”

Between 30 and 40% of food produced around the world is never eaten, because it is spoiled after harvest and during transportation, or thrown away by shops and consumers.

Perhaps Singapore Climate Action Plan should also focus on this, but…

“It is not a strategy of governments at the moment,” …

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/07/reducing-food-waste-would-mitigate-climate-change-study-shows