Let's think about the major issues of this century. Did you get anything? Well, one of the first things that comes to mind is climate change.
Yes, climate change, one of the major issues ever faced by us. It is impacting every aspect of our lives and harming us both physically and mentally. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) concluded that climate risks are appearing faster and will become more severe sooner than previously expected, and it will be harder to adapt with increased global heating.
In this blog, I will discuss how climate change is impacting us and our health, including myself. But before jumping into the topic, I would like to share my experiences associated with climate change. I'm from Bangladesh, one of the most affected countries by climate change. This year, we have faced record-breaking temperatures. Due to this, I wasn’t able to attend school and was faced with dehydration. We also had record-breaking rain during the first week of October in my district. It led to flooding all over the district. Our homes were under water, and we were disconnected.
All of these things happened only because of climate change. We face extreme heat, heat waves, more drought, changes in precipitation, stronger cyclones, rising sea levels, and much more due to climate change.
Now, let's get back to our topic. Climate change impacts our health in several ways.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2 billion people lack safe drinking water, and 600 million suffer from foodborne illnesses annually, with children under 5 bearing 30% of foodborne fatalities. Climate stressors heighten waterborne and foodborne disease risks. In 2020, 770 million faced hunger, predominantly in Africa and Asia. The direct damage costs to health (excluding costs in health-determining sectors such as agriculture and water and sanitation) are estimated to be between US$ 2–4 billion annually by 2030.
So, it is clear from the statistics that climate change harms our health. That's why we should know how we can combat issues created by climate change on our health.
Firstly, we should remember that if we become more aware of climate change and take initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases, invest in adaptation measures, and strengthen health systems, we will be able to live our lives happily.
Secondly, get vaccinated to protect yourself from diseases. Drink more and more water and avoid working outside during hot weather. Recent research attributes 37% of heat-related deaths to human-induced climate change.
If someone is already being affected by climate change and has issues like dehydration, hypothermia, waterborne and foodborne diseases, depression, anxiety, etc., he should consult with health experts and get enough rest. Health issues, especially mental health issues, aren't a joke, so take it seriously as well to prevent suicide and promote happy life.
Thirdly, keep an eye on your family members or friends to see if they are facing any health issues due to climate change. If you find someone, then take him to the doctor.
Fourthly, plant more and more trees. Trees are our best companions. They reduce greenhouse gasses and provide us with healthy foods and Oxygen to live a healthy life. Avoid unhealthy eating habits and follow a healthy diet.
In conclusion, over 930 million people – around 12% of the world’s population – spend at least 10% of their household budget on health care. The WHO conservatively projects 250 0
00 additional yearly deaths by the 2030s due to climate change impacts on diseases like malaria and coastal flooding. So, if you don't want to lose your money on health care for you and your family and want to live a secure life, then be aware of climate change and its effects on our health. Take the necessary steps to reduce climate change and its effects on our communities.
About the author: A true visionary, Omor Faruque is a changemaker on a global scale, tirelessly advocating for child rights, environmental sustainability, health equity, and harnessing technology for social good. He is a student of class 12 at Gurudayal Govt College. He represents the youth on various international platforms and organizations, including serving as the Country Representative of SAARC Youth Platform and a Board Member at the Dynamic Teen Coalition under the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and the UN. Omor is a Parliamentarian for Bangladesh Generation Parliament by UNICEF as well as a journalist for UNICEF Bangladesh. He is an active member in UNFCCC's YOUNGO, UN MGCY and UNEP working groups. He's committed to advancing children's rights and well-being globally, exemplified by his work as the Founder and President of "Project OMNA," an AI powered upcoming mobile app focusing on children's mental health and child rights.
Omor's commitment to leadership and advocacy is underscored by his participation in prestigious courses such as Nonviolent Leadership, Business & Entrepreneurship, and Technology and Innovation at the Martin Luther King Jr Center in Atlanta, Georgia, where he's the only student from Asia. He also serves as an FXB Climate Ambassador under FXB International and FXB Center at Harvard University, leading the policy team.
Having actively engaged in more than 70 UN programs and conferences, Omor has been the youngest and only child panelist providing crucial statements in Global Digital Compact policy discussions for which he was mentioned as "Iconic" by the UN Under Secretary General during IGF Annual meeting's High Level Panel. He is working to make global policies more friendly for the young people.
His work has been featured in the 2023 G. Barrie Landry Child Protection Professional Training program by Harvard University, and he is a nominee for the prestigious International Children's Peace Prize 2023. Omor's unyielding commitment to children's rights, mental health, and climate action has already made a profound global impact, and his future promises even more positive change.