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Question 2 and 3

QUESTION 2. A colleague at an international health forum makes the following comment: “There is no point trying to manage or prevent the health impacts of climate change. There are too many uncertainties about the effect of climate change and, besides, there is no way for us to develop an effective response.” Do you agree with this comment? Provide arguments for and/or against this assertion.

Climate change entails a change in climate patterns, which in turn have environmental impacts such as increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels as a result of the utilization of fossil fuels. There are various impacts that are associated with climate change, some of them being health related. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2014, p.112), the global climate is altered by changes in greenhouse gas concentrations and other aspects which in turn results in a variety of health effects. The psychological, social, and physical health of individuals is directly or indirectly influenced by environmental impacts of climatic change. These include aspects such as rising sea-levels, degraded air quality, extreme heat waves and variations in precipitation which in turn lead to droughts and flooding among others (McMichael, and Lindgren, 2011, p.408).

McMichael (2013, p.1337) argues that climate change could act as a driver of disease migration. In addition, it may heighten health effects that are as a result of the release of lethal air pollutants in susceptible populations such as the elderly, children and those suffering from cardiovascular diseases or asthma (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 2016; Sheffield and Landrigan, 2011, p.291). Other effects of climate change include temperature-related illnesses and deaths, air quality impacts, water-related illnesses, vector -borne diseases, nutrition, food safety as well as mental health and wellbeing among others (Berry, Bowen and Kjellstrom, 2010, p.126).

According to some people, there are numerous uncertainties when it comes to the impact of climate change, an aspect that makes it difficult to come up with effective response mechanisms. For this reason, they think that there is no need to try and prevent and manage the health effects associated with climate change (Watts, 2015, p. 1898).

To a certain level, I do not agree with the argument and I believe that something ought to be done. It is apparent that the effects of climate change especially on health are adverse and hence something that necessitates some interventions with an aim of minimizing or dealing with the impacts. Effective mitigation and adaptation measures should be adopted and implemented. This will ensure that diseases and death in individuals are prevented and at the same time, the environment and health of future generations safeguarded (, n.d). In turn, this will affect human health positively.

According to WHO (2017), effective response is necessary in dealing with health effects that are related to climate change. This could include appropriate policies and personal choices that are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as bringing about health co-benefits. For instance, the use of cleaner energy systems and encouraging the use of public transportation as well as active movement such as walking and cycling would go a long way in promoting a healthy environment and hence reducing negative health impacts that could even cause deaths (Harlan and Ruddell, 2011, p.129; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2015, p.86) For success to be achieved in the implementation of the response strategies, there is a need to involve different parties such as the government and community groups (Maibach, Nisbet, Baldwin, Akerlof and Diao, 2010, p.299; Woodward 2014, p. 1186). Raising awareness on different aspects of climate change is also essential so that people may know the importance of preserving and conserving the environment as a way of enjoying the benefits and preventing negative health effects associated with climate change (Frumkin, Hess, Luber, Malilay and McGeehan, 2008, p.438; Shindell et. al., 2012, p.184).

QUESTION 3. “From a global perspective, we now live in an era of abundant and cheap food. Most of our past problems with food availability and quality have been solved.” Do you agree? Provide arguments for and against this statement.

Kearney (2010, p. 2798) asserts that food is such an essential commodity for humankind survival. It is known as one of the basic needs that everyone ought to access. It could be said that we are living in an era that is characterized by cheap and abundant food and that challenges of food quality and availability are now not experienced. Nonetheless, this could not always apply for everyone since some still suffer. This is more so in nations that have experienced adverse climatic changes and therefore have become less productive. Countries that are prone to calamities such as wars and earthquakes are also never stable and hence the availability and access to quality and adequate food becomes a problem (Gishford, 2007, p. 90). In some instances, marginalized individuals in countries that are relatively stable could also experience food problems especially if they are economically handicapped (Laska, Borradaile, Tester, Foster and Gittelsohn, 2010, p. 1033).

According to Babcock (2015, p.1), food is a basic need and its absence in the right quality and quantity translates to a number of problems. People could suffer from health problems such as malnutrition. Productivity level of the people also goes down, leading to more problems. Generally, the situation has greatly improved with regard to access to food by the general population. Most of the problems of food availability and quality that were experienced in the past have been solved (McMichael and Schneider, 2011, p. 123). Despite the fact that food is not provided for free, it is clear that today, people do not have to work as hard as they used to do in the past in order to put food on the table (O’Kane, 2012, p.270; Schulz, 2017.). Much success in this area can be attributed to the improvement in the agricultural sector (Franck, Grandi and Eisenberg, 2013, p. 329). As days progress and people embrace technology and enhanced strategies in agriculture, food sustainability becomes a reality (Wallinga, D., 2010, p.409). Farmers have come up with numerous ways to do great with less. Various practices have been embraced with an aim of enhancing yields while at the same time using fewer resources. Rahman (2010, p.258) asserts that innovation, markets and technology have significantly changed the agriculture sector in a positive way and hence the sufficiency of food for the populations. This has made it possible to cater for food needs for the ever growing population, whose food needs grow day by day (Temple, Steyn, Fourie and De Villiers, 2011, p.56).

Lawrence and McMichael (2012, p. 138) argue that in as much as some people still face some challenges in accessing quality and adequate food, it is apparent that the situation becomes better with time. The fact that resources distribution is not equitable all over the world translates to the conclusion that not all places are characterized by adequacy when it comes to food. It is nonetheless imperative to note that the situation has greatly improved compared to the past (Haug and Hella, 2013, p. 421). If agriculture modernization will continue to be practiced far and wide, there is great hope that the situation will be much better even for the individuals and nations that experience some challenges with regard to food production and access (Kneafsey, Dowler, Lambie-Mumford, Inman and Collier, 2013, p. 106; Porkka, Kummu, Siebert and Varis, 2013, p. e82714). Food abundance will be experienced as opposed to food scarcity.


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