Climate Change: Does it really bother me?
Glaciers melting, increasing sea levels or reduced forest cover, Should I be worried? I would rather finish my work than be bothered about it now. But wait, can you share your feelings as a victim to global warming? But I am not a victim. Yes we are, you me and everyone.
If you don’t trust it, just ponder over some of the questions that follow. How many of us feel so irritant to travel and go to work on a hot day. Doesn't it makes you feel drained and unproductive? It sometimes spoil our entire day and mood.
How will you react, if one fine morning you wake up to find your house flooded with water? The water level keeps rising and you have to rush out soon leaving behind your entire house. What will you try to pick up with you? Your money and jewels or laptop or your mobile phones or your certificates or your loved ones?
The implications of climate change on human mind is often neglected . The cumulative effects can lead to a psychologically stressed society, due to factors like environment degradation, scarcity of resources, increased intergroup conflicts, forced migration, loss of home, threats to cultural practices and values.
Scientists have reported that there is an intense relationship between heat and violence. An increase in average global temperature is likely to be accompanied by an increase in violent aggression- Can be right as we see more violence than before.
The effects of climate change are magnified on the most vulnerable groups in the society, such as children, women and poor people. The poor typically live in ill constructed homes in areas at risk of landslides and floods and rarely have rights to the land they live in, have little access to financial compensation.
Air pollution and fossil fuel combustion is one of the major contributors of climate change. Fossil fuel combustion has been implicated as the main source of air pollution. The 2016 WHO reports, about 3.8 million deaths due to ambient air pollution and 4.3 million deaths to household air pollution generated by indoor use of solid fuels.
The burden of disease and impairment due to air pollution is huge. Pre natal exposure to toxic particulate matters of burning fossil fuels was associated with developmental delay, reduced IQ, symptoms of anxiety, depression, increased risk of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and reduction in white matter . Young children, in their developing years are more susceptible biologically and psychologically to toxic air pollutants. They might face physical trauma, mood swings associated with heat waves, nutritional deprivation, spreading of infectious agents and reduced immunity.
Natural disasters are another by product of climate change. Over the past decades the frequency and intensity of natural disasters have increased due to dwindling patterns of global warming and climate change. There is a lack of precise data on the mental health and psychological wellbeing in population affected by natural disasters.
In India and certain other cultures, the need for psychological care is quiet stigmatizing, making people hesitant to approach professionals and seek help.
Women in disaster are vulnerable to sexual violence too says reports. There are instances of surviving women being raped by other survivors and by rescuers during tsunami .
In many regions, children said they felt guilty of not being able to help their family members or siblings. The children who lost their father or mother or both the parents are also at a greater risk of falling into depression. Their psychological needs are easily neglected in orphanages.
In the wake of such a prevailing scenario, there is an immediate need for us to ponder on these aspects and work collectively towards being a socially conscious and committed society.
There is a great need for increasing the ecological literacy, to educate the society not just in the point of geography and biodiversity, but also increasing their empowerment, to pave way for their involvement in mitigation processes and coping up.
The effects caused by psychological damages should be taken into consideration, while planning relief operations and mitigation measures. It also calls for better government welfare policies to address psychological needs across all educational institutions and offices.