This week, I ran across STAT News – Reporting from the frontiers of health and medicine. What led me there was an article they posted yesterday: Climate change and human immunity: invest now or pay more later By Alice Hill and Wayne C. Koff.
Across the spectrum of diseases, humans already face large health-related risks from climate change. Global warming has placed 1 billion more people at risk of mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue, Zika, and malaria. Greater frequency and intensity of hurricanes has accelerated outbreaks of life-threatening gastrointestinal diseases like cholera and typhoid. Extreme heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States, with longer droughts causing malnutrition and stunting the growth of children. Wildfire smoke degrades air quality, increasing the rates of lung cancer, asthma, and other respiratory diseases, and can also trigger chronic inflammation and autoimmunity. … To reduce these threats, governments must make greater investments in climate-change solutions. The world needs both a reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions and increased preparedness for negative climate impacts, which would include the development of novel approaches for the prevention and control of major global diseases.Alice Hill and Wayne C. Koff
Then I read this article on Bloomberg’s site, Cities Are Our Best Hope for Surviving Climate Change by Linda Poon, Laura Millan Lombraña and Sam Dodge.
I thought, “Cities? Seriously? Cities?” And Linda, Laura, and Sam were all like, “Yes, cities!”
Cities currently consume two-thirds of the global energy supply and generate three-quarters of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Luckily for human civilization, they’re also extraordinarily motivated to minimize their cost to the climate—and quickly. Because cities are uniquely vulnerable to climate change, they’re also likely to be remade the fastest by the human need to survive and eventually thrive on a warmer planet.Linda Poon, Laura Millan Lombraña and Sam Dodge
Cities, they tell me, can be reconfigured to make it easier to get to where you need to go without a car, and cities can make public transport low-emission and preferable to private vehicles. Cities can mandate green roofs (rooves?) for large buildings, and can plant street trees. Cities can mandate/provide large-scale low-emission power, like solar and wind. And cities can be transformed into “sponge cities”, “which use a mix of green space and underground storage tanks to absorb rainfall and prevent floods.”
At least 105 cities, home to 170 million people worldwide, have made major progress in setting climate targets and laying out adaptation plans since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, according to the nonprofit CDP. In one optimistic projection, current technology and low-carbon measures could enable cities to cut emissions by almost 90% by 2050.Linda Poon, Laura Millan Lombraña and Sam Dodge
Cities — whoodathunkit?
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: An unexpected thing happens in a city.