The Last Breath

by victoriasalomon on September 12, 2017 - 5:23pm

Victoria, Katelyn, Mezen, Ariane, Nicolas


The beginning of industrialization brought a wave of new technology, as well as a wave of problems no one had anticipated. Climate change has had and continues to have negative effects on human health. In China, people are forced to wear face masks to avoid the air pollution around them. In 2003, Europe, more than 70 000 people died due to an intense heatwave.

To begin, climate change greatly affects our respiratory system. The fresh air we are breathing is not as fresh as we think. Ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and methane are all examples of some of the gasses we breathe in every day. It is said that the lining of the lungs can become irritated and inflamed, much like a sunburn, when inhaling too much ozone. In some places of the world, the air is barely even suitable for human intake, as it has become too contaminated. Whether that be by pollution from factories, cars, and most things relying on the burning of fossil fuels, the result is the same. Around 2.5 million people die each year from indoor or outdoor air pollution and according to statistics, 10%-20% of cancers are caused by air pollution.  In addition to that, there are increased cases of allergic illnesses, such as asthma. Pollen season begins early every year in some parts of the world, relating to more allergies in that area. This can be caused by climate change, as it affects the seasonal cycles of nature. It is interesting to note that toxic air on skin could be a leading cause in the effects of aging, as it has incredibly damaging effects. Professor Jean Krutmann says: “Unless people do more they will end up wearing the pollution on their faces in ten years time.”  

Next, climate change does not only affect our lungs but also our cardiovascular system. According to statistics, 5.5% of heart and lung diseases (cardio-pulmonary) could be linked to air exposure. Though, a main component of death is intense heat. Heat related deaths are much more of a danger to the young and the elderly. People aged 65 and over are, according to statistics, several times more likely to suffer from heat-related cardiovascular disease than anyone else. There has been a noticeable increase in strokes, due to the heat, as well. Here in Montreal, there is an annual 70 deaths related to heat, because climate change causes areas of Canada to heat rapidly and sporadically. According to scientific data, numbers are estimated to rise to 460 deaths annually, by 2020. Besides that, there are other causes of cardiac-related death; stress being one of them. In areas of the world that are largely affected by extreme weather events, for example, seaside populations, the people are subjected to a lot of trauma. This causes stress, anxiety, even Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Without delving into the mental aspect, these examples have been linked to deaths by heart attacks.

We can clearly see that climate change affects all aspects of human health from lungs to heart and even mentally. We can see that it will also affect animal health. All living forms that depend on the environment are in danger, if we do not take action and precaution when handling our future, regarding climate change.


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