Climate change receives a lot of news coverage, and for good reason. Many countries are suffering severe and unusual weather, including torrential rains and associated flooding, heat waves and unseasonable freezes, droughts and unexpected thaws. These weather problems affect more than just personal comfort; they can also do serious damage to crops and can even affect whole economies.
The effects of climate change can cause problems with the food supply chain, making it harder to get all your favorite healthy foods at the grocery store. The overall effect could be a lot more serious, however. As weather changes and flooding becomes more common, many more people will suffer from diseases such as malaria.
Scientists also predict that a loss in reliability for important food crops is likely to create a higher risk of malnutrition. Since the lack of appropriate healthy food is already the biggest cause of death in the developing world, this could be a very serious problem.
The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that in Mali alone, the number of people in danger of hunger will nearly double by 2050. That means that as much as 70 percent of the Mali population could be facing a lack of food. Many other countries are expected to suffer from similar problems, with the greatest effects happening in many of the poorest countries.
While wealthy nations in the western hemisphere are expected to suffer the fewest negative effects from climate change, they are among the biggest contributors to the problem. The petroleum and coal used to provide electricity, power vehicles and heat or cool structures produce large amounts of carbon dioxide, which damages the weather patterns for the whole planet.
If you live in a nation where most people have a large carbon footprint, there are things you can do to avoid contributing to this upcoming health crisis. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, we emit the most carbon for industrial purposes, followed by transportation, residential, commercial and agricultural uses, in that order.
That means that by choosing more ecologically friendly products, using low-carbon forms of transportation, and keeping your home heating and cooling efficient, you can greatly reduce your contribution to this serious issue. Even the type of light bulb you choose or the efficiency of your home computer could affect the amount of carbon dioxide for which you are personally responsible.