Thursday, September 14, 2023

PBS Digital explains how climate change can make us sick

I last wrote about the health effects of climate change in PBS Eons on mosquito evolution for World Mosquito Day. Before that, I posted Vox warns 'A desert fungus that infects humans is spreading', another disease being made worse by climate change. PBS Terra covered both mosquito-borne diseases and valley fever and more when it asked These Diseases LOVE a Warmer World But Which Should We Worry About?

As our world gets warmer and our climate gets more extreme, the weather isn’t the only thing that’s changing and becoming more dangerous. Disease vectors are also spreading and becoming riskier to humans. In this episode of Weathered, we delve into some of the world’s biggest killers, like Malaria and Dengue, but also discuss some smaller, and creepier threats that are becoming more common.

And PBS Vitals co-host, Dr. Alok Patel, helps us understand the measures we can all take to keep ourselves as safe as possible amid this ever-changing landscape of infectious disease.
While I've written about West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases here, I haven't mentioned Lyme disease before, even in connection with climate change. It's about time I did.

Maiya May of "Weathered" referred her viewers to PBS Vitals asking How Are Wildfires Making Us Sick?

Right here, on the heels of the Lahaina disaster and a summer full of Canadian wildfire smoke, we’ve been wondering: when the air fills with smoke, what are you really breathing? How best to protect yourself? And how bad is it going to get?

Along with Alok, Maiya May from Weathered brings some long-term perspective on fires, climate change and the shifting patterns of where we live.
I'm recycling my remarks from PBS NewsHour reports 'Record-breaking global temperature, raging wildfires highlight effects of climate change' plus Thursday broke another record as part of my reaction.
During May and June, smoke from those wildfires has twice blown south into the eastern half of the U.S. and created unhealthy to hazardous air quality from Chicago to New York, with Detroit in-between. Last week, the smoke was thick enough that it matched the worst-looking air pollution I ever saw growing up in Los Angeles. I have never seen air quality this bad in the 34 years I've lived here. My students even asked me why it was happening. Unfortunately, they were my geology students. If my environmental science students had asked, I'd have used the smoke as an example of three of Commoner's Laws, everything is connected to everything else, everything must go somewhere, so there is no "away," and there is no free lunch. If the smoke returns, I might still.
Fortunately, the smoke hasn't returned enough to get my students to ask, but the risk remains.

PBS Vitals has more videos on the health effects of climate change and I might share them. Stay tuned.

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