Global Warming as a Irrecoverable Problem
Changing climatic trends usually have effects on the health of all living beings, and many health organizations have emphasized the importance of finding solutions to the problem. The extent of the climate change is a worrying trend, and the society is becoming more concerned with the situation. The purpose of this paper is to outline the health concerns of climate change, compare the situation in some countries, and recommend strategies that nurses could use to promote health.
Health Concerns Related to Global Climate Change
Climate change has been caused by the rise of many industries that engage in manufacturing activities, with emitting their waste to the environment. The wastes pollute important resources, such as water bodies and air, which in turn leads to the interruption of the normal environmental cycles such as rain formation (Levine & What Works Working Group, 2007). With changes in the climate patterns, global warming suffices to lead to the occurrences of floods and hurricanes. The general effect of the change in climatic conditions is the variation of the normal weather patterns (Afzal, 2007). For example, heat waves could cause conditions such as dehydration and heat stroke, which are the leading causes of deaths due to adverse weather conditions.
People living in the northern latitudes are likely to experience the full impact of weather extremities. The most vulnerable part of the population is the children, the elderly, and people who have medical conditions. In the United States, the adult population is 12%, and statistics show that the population will continue to grow to around 21% by 2050. According to the United States Global Change Research Program, the effects of global warming are likely to hit hard on different regions meaning that some sectors of the population are likely to face more harsh conditions than others (Afzal, 2007).
The change of weather patterns can also lead to the variation of the fine particulate matter. Inhaling such matter could lead to various respiratory illnesses including chronic lung disease. Increase of the warmth of waters leads to creation of breeding grounds of various parasites such as Cryptosporidium, which can cause gastrointestinal distress. Diseases caused by animals may also rise because of creation of favorable breeding grounds. For example, mosquitos breed in warm areas, and they can lead to the development of illnesses such as the West Nile virus (Afzal, 2007). The effects of the extreme weather conditions can indirectly cause other health related problems. For example, the extreme conditions can cause the increase of carbon monoxide in the environment because of the use of electric generators when storms occur. Storms can also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder due to the experiences people go through.
The first strategy that can be used is mitigation. Mitigation efforts include the activities that are done to reduce the effects of global warming (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2014). Mitigation includes the development of better health infrastructure to increase research practices and treatment in order to reduce and eradicate health complications caused by global warming.
Another strategy that can be used is adaptation. It generally means that the community should be enlightened on the adverse weather conditions and how to deal with every situation (Afzal, 2007). Adaptation means that all countries have to accept the changes in the environmental cycles and embrace the necessary changes for survival. Adaptation refers to actions that lead to the reduction of health effects due to environmental changes that cannot be eliminated by the use of mitigation (Holtz, 2013).
A nurse has a big part to ensure the promotion of healthy practices in the community. The first strategy a nurse can adopt is the establishment of an environment that supports human health. In this strategy, a nurse can engage in educational community programs that educate the society on health practices that would help avoid diseases that are brought due to environmental pollution (Holtz, 2013). Another strategy that a nurse can use is creating a healthy environment. For example, a nurse could ensure that the place of work is clean by promoting healthy waste disposal practices (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2014). The nurse might also engage in enlightening the community on the importance of maintaining cleanliness as a way of avoiding the diseases.
The United States, Germany and China Comparison
Many countries have different levels of pollution depending on the stage of their development. For example, the comparison of the United States and Germany in terms of pollution shows that their environmental practices are similar. Both countries are developed, and their industrialization started long time ago. Currently, the state of industrialization can be called mature. Most of the industrialization practices in America and Germany happened in the second half of the 20th century and take place currently. Both countries have reduced most of their industrial activities. The current industrial activities that are taking place in China were experienced in the developed countries such as the United States a long time ago (Holtz, 2013). In the charts that were provided by Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency in 2011, the United States and Germany attributed to global carbon emissions with 16% and 2.4% respectively.
When comparing the statistics of the United States and a developing country such as China, China has been found to contribute more when it comes to emitting harmful substances (Holtz, 2013). For example, the 2011 statistics provided by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency show that China is directly attributable to carbon dioxide emissions to a tune of 28.6%, which is more than the combined contribution of the United States and Germany. The greenhouse emission of China stands at 16.3% of the total global emissions (Levine & What Works Working Group, 2007). The statistics show that developing countries such as China are contributing more to pollution than the developed countries mainly due to the fact that the developing countries are in the process of industrialization.
If to compare the statistics of death that happened due to pollution in the US and China, there is a clear gap between the two countries. According to a report by World Health Organization (WHO), China had 275,600 fatalities attributed to air pollution in 2012, whereas the death toll in the United States amounted to 41,200. In terms of clean water and sanitation, the United States had 100% while China had 44% clean water (Holtz, 2013). The United States did not have any deaths associated to diarrhea, while China recorded 95,600 deaths. According to the above statistics, it is clear that the levels of pollution in China are higher than those in the United States, and as a result, China has more associated health complications (Holtz, 2013). It is also clear that the developed countries have reduced pollutant practices because of the mere reason that they got industrialized earlier than the developing countries.
Although the statistics show that China plays a bigger role in creating an imbalance due to pollution, it is clear the all countries contribute to the process of global warming. Statistics have shown that clean air and water in China are a big problem (Lancaster & Stanhope, 2014). However, for solving these problems, the country has the necessary infrastructure such as hospitals, which can be revised to ensure the treatment of climate change diseases is a priority. The country can also adopt laws that ensure the industries treat their wastes before disposing them.
When it comes to Germany and United States, the countries face almost similar problems when it comes to maintaining a conducive environment. The countries have better sanitation policies because they have installed the necessary infrastructure to ensure that there is clean air and water (Lancaster & Stanhope, 2014). However, there are still many deaths which can be prevented. The countries have the necessary resources such as hospitals and laboratories that they can use in the research of better treatment practices and medicine. The countries also have the necessary human resources which they can use to enlighten the community on how to adapt to the changing environmental trends.
All countries, including the developed ones, have problems caused by global warming as evidenced by the resulting deaths and the continuous change in climatic patterns. Nurses can play part in both adaptation and mitigation strategies as a way of countering the effects of global warming. Nurses can engage in community education programs to enlighten the communities on how to adapt to the adverse effects of global warming. Nurses are also a part of the mitigation strategy by engaging in the establishment of better health infrastructure to control the health complications.