Renewable energy sources, reduction of greenhouse gases, global warming and climate change are being discussed everywhere around us. Politicians, policy writers, media outlets and people on the street all have varying opinions on the issue and its possible environmental implications. However, climate change isn't just about the environment. Recent studies are showing that the fight against climate change can help reduce the death toll from cancer and other health problems.
The studies examined policies in both developed and developing countries that lessened emissions from transport, agriculture, households, and generating electricity. The efforts to reduce the output of gases can offset the costs of researching cleaner, renewable energy resources through improved health and curbing the global disease burden.
"Effects of climate change on health will affect most populations in the next decades and put the lives and well being of billions of people at increased risk," according to the Lancet journal. Reducing greenhouse gases by increased walking and cycling among other initiatives would not only help offset the trends in global warming, but also lessen the number of deaths caused by cancer, heart disease and strokes.
One study reported that new London transport policies to boost cycling and walking could cut breast cancer up to 13 percent and heart disease and strokes by almost 20 percent by 2030. UK Health Secretary told Bloomberg in a recent article that "Climate change can seem a distant, impersonal threat: In fact, the associated costs to health are a very real and present danger. We need well-designed climate-change policies that drive health benefits."
Reducing meat and dairy consumption are also among the ways people can lower the emission of carbon dioxide and methane gases. Cows, sheep and pigs all release large amounts of methane, causing the majority of agricultural gas emission. Dairy and meat consumption largely affect the climate, but health is a concern as well. Research has proven direct links between diet and disease, especially heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Lessening intake of fatty meats and dairy products is a major step to reducing increased cancer risks caused by obesity.
For some people, climate change may or may not be a problem that may or may not be driven by mankind. Others see the issue in its extremity, and even others have mixed feelings. Whatever your personal views on the environment, however, it is prudent to examine the ways in which we take care of the world and bodies we live in.
Sources: Bloomberg and The Lancet