Prepare: Air pollution plays a central role in the discussion on the interrelationship between global environmental change and human health. It is important, however, that you first understand how human activities around the globe have resulted in the increased emission of greenhouse gases and aerosols (small particles), which are accelerating the disruption to Earth’s climate (Samuel and Aaron, 2013). There are four greenhouse gases produced through human activities; however, carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary gas emitted through the burning of fossil fuels in power plants, burning gasoline in transportation, and deforestation (oceanesrvice.noaa.gov). Although CO2 is naturally released through the ocean and vegetation, human activities since the Industrial Revolution have upset the balance of the carbon cycle and have led to very high levels of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. In fact the last time the Earth has seen levels this high was in the Eocene when the sea level was 100 meters above current levels and the ice caps were nonexistent (Samuel and Aaron, 2013). We are now seeing the effect of greenhouse gases on the climate in many ways including global warming. For the past 40 years global temperatures have risen and the hottest year on record was 2015 followed by 2014, 2010, and 2013 (ncdc.noaa.gov).
As we progress through this course you will see how climate change is affecting the environment and human health in many direct and indirect ways. This week, however, we will examine how air pollution is impacting human health, and in particular child health, in the home. In the article, the coming health crisis: indirect health effects of global climate change, Samuel and Aaron provide a list of the health consequences of air pollution which include (2013):
In your discussion post you will be focusing on the harmful effects of environmental air pollution, but also indoor air pollution caused by solid fuel use. Many children die each year from dangerous sources of household fuel used to keep houses warm and cook food. Solid fuels produce high levels of smoke which can lead to chronic respiratory conditions, cataracts, lung cancer, and heart disease (who.org). Indoor pollution has also been linked to issues during pregnancy such as low birth rate and perinatal mortality, tuberculosis, and cervical cancer (who.org).
First, read this article on the direct health effects of climate change
Then, review the following required resources on indoor air pollution
Last, review the following required resources on the impact of air pollution on child health
Reflect: As you review the required readings and watch the videos consider the following:
Write: In this discussion post you will focus on the harmful effects of indoor air pollution caused by solid fuel use as well as environmental air pollution. Using the required readings provide background information on environmental and indoor air pollution and its impact on child health. In your response consider the role socio-economics, policy decision, and race play in each scenario? Then answer the following two questions.
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