Health and Climate Change by Eleanor Siebert
At the beginning of the period that I was learning more about malaria and the plasmodium parasite, I did not connect this issue to climate change. As the Zika Virus stories emerged with their possibly devastating results, I began to connect the two stories. They are two very different diseases, one a virus and one a parasitic organism; but both are spread by the pesky mosquitoes.
Many of us do not realize that we do have a history of malaria in this country with the last pocket of disease being eliminated around the end of WWII.
As our climate continues to warm, weather will change with more serious events such as flood, droughts, warm weather with melting ice closer to the two poles, and snow and cold in the south of our hemisphere. This rapidly changing climate will bring weather changes that impact our health in a number of ways. Some of them will be new or unfamiliar to us in this country. It will require new learning for us, especially in the health related fields.
I hope that we do not lose sight of the primary goal of slowing this increasing global temperature while we are alleviating the suffering of people affected by the results of the increasing temperatures.
Eleanor Siebert is the Chair of the South-Central Synod/LOPPW Care for God’s Creation Team. She is the former chair of her Synod’s ELCA Malaria Campaign and is a retired registered nurse.