Climate Change and Malnutrition

Introduction

Climate change is a gradually spreading hazard in the present world. I chose to study it because I believe that it is essential to mitigate its detrimental impacts on the environment, biodiversity, socio-economic prosperity, and human health now and in the future. Climate change refers to the long-term shift in the mean weather patterns encompassing global, regional, and local climates. The widespread industrialization activities, over-reliance on fossil fuels, deforestation operations, improper waste disposals, and inorganic farming have immensely contributed to greenhouse gas emissions that, in turn, destroy the ozone layer (O’ Neill et al., 2020). The ozone (O3) is a protective layer that shields the Earth’s atmosphere from harsh ultraviolet rays from the sun. When the ozone layer becomes destroyed, the harmful ultraviolet rays infiltrate the Earth’s atmosphere, superheating its surface and resulting in a significant temperature rise. I believe that studying climate change aspects can equip me with the necessary knowledge to design recommendations for curbing it.

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Specific Issues

The specific issue, in this case, entails comprehending climate change, its major causes, detrimental impacts, and potential mitigation measures. Some researchers mainly assess the socio-economic impacts of climate change. For instance, Dietz (2020) established that when not addressed, climate change can result in high economic costs that will supersede 10% of the United States GDP and 7% of the world by 2100. Besides, literature studies focus on the effective frameworks of mitigating climate change progression. For instance, Seddon et al. (2020) proposed nature-based solutions (Nbs) as essential in combating climate change. Furthermore, O’ Neill et al. (2020) established that Scenario Forums such as the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) and the Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) could help in accurately predicting future weather and climate patterns as well as informing relevant policy recommendations. Additionally, Sippel et al. (2020) established that it is possible to detect the extent of externally facilitated climate change and consequent global warming by observing the moisture and temperature levels in a day.

Impacts of Climate Change

The impacts of climate change on humans, flora, and fauna are well deliberated on in literature. For instance, climate change negatively impacts weather patterns, which results in reduced food production and consequently malnutrition (O’ Neill et al., 2020). Climate change stagnates individual incomes and national GDP growth in nations dependent on agriculture (O’ Neill et al., 2020). Besides, it results in adverse weather conditions that such as tornadoes, flash floods, and hurricanes that can result in loss of human, plant, and animal life as well as the destruction of property (O’ Neill et al., 2020). Additionally, climate change impacts human health through aspects such as heatwaves and facilitating undernutrition.

Climate Change Context

The climate change context entails the anthropogenic, economic, environmental, health, and political contexts. The anthropogenic context entails the relationship between man and the environment. In particular, it involves both the anthropogenic activities that facilitate environmental degradation and the policies developed to curb environmental degradation (O’ Neill et al., 2020). Furthermore, political context entails various policies developed by local, national, and international organizations to curb climate change and global warming, for instance, the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) and the Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) policy frameworks developed by the Paris Agreement on climate change (O’ Neill et al., 2020). Further, the health context entails the detrimental impacts of climate change on health, for instance, malnutrition resulting from reduced food production (Dietz, 2020). Furthermore, the environmental context entails using nature-based solutions in shielding humans against detrimental health and socio-economic impacts while securing the ecosystem and biodiversity (Seddon et al., 2020). Moreover, the economic context encompasses the detrimental impacts of climate change on economic activities such as agriculture and the resultant impact on GDP (Dietz, 2020). Besides, the environmental context entails the need to curb climate change and reduce its adverse environmental impacts such as hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, heat waves, flash floods, forest fires, and loss of biodiversity.

Historical Background

The historical scope of climate change has been changed by the Paris Agreement, which spearheads climate negotiations among member countries. In the past, the Kyoto Protocol was developed to cap greenhouse gas release for Annex B nations (Skeie et al., 2021). Even though it was vital to utilize historical greenhouse gas emissions to categorize allocations during the Brazilian proposal, it remained unsuccessful. To ensure responsible greenhouse emissions by nations, the Paris Agreement mandates them to avail their contributions after every five years.

Current Strategies of Combating Climate Change

Climate change research addresses mitigation strategies that can combat or slow down its progression. For instance, Seddon et al. (2020) deliberated on the applicability of nature-based solutions (Nbs) in combating climate change. In particular, there has been emerging attention towards integrating nature-based solutions in shielding humans against detrimental health and socio-economic impacts while securing the ecosystem and biodiversity. In particular, Nbs entails enhancing and working with nature to combat social challenges. Some of the Nbs operations include the management and supervision of semi-natural and natural ecosystems, integration of ecosystem-based policies into agriculture, and the inclusion of blue and green infrastructure in urban regions (Seddon et al., 2020). Against this backdrop, well-managed and healthy ecosystems result in multiple service range that fulfills human needs, encompassing offering clean water and air, genetic resources, medicines, fuel, and food, stabilizing shorelines, controlling floods, and storing carbon (Seddon et al., 2020). However, the cost-effectiveness and reliability of nature-based solutions, as well as their climate change resilience, remain in question (Seddon et al., 2020). This is because trade-offs can result where climate protection legislation proposes Nbs that result in reduced biodiversity value such as re-afforestation to non-conventional monocultures.

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Furthermore, the collaboration between communities and Scenario Forums has been essential in developing climate change mitigation policies. For instance, in the past decade, numerous communities have collaborated to form the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) and the Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) (O’ Neill et al., 2020). The RCP and SSP were meant to reinforce climate change-related studies worldwide in various research teams and became extrapolated to other issue areas, sectors, and scales (O’ Neill et al., 2020). Furthermore, the RCP and SSP were geared towards combining societal and climate futures by offering more enhanced political and socio-economic conditions as foundations to mitigation, adaptation, and impact studies (O’ Neill et al., 2020). Additionally, the RCP and SSP were developed to facilitate considerations for future uncertainties in societal and climate conditions by elaborating multiple plausible features (O’ Neill et al., 2020). The Paris Agreement, an important event in international climate negotiations, utilizes the RCP and SCP to make accurate climate change predictions and estimate how regional and national historical contributions to global warming have evolved significantly over the past few decades (O’ Neill et al., 2020). The RCPs were developed in 2011, while the SSPs were designed in 2017. Both collaborative frameworks have facilitated significant experience in climate change. Besides, the RCP-SSP system is different from the past deliberations on climate change scenarios since it deigns societal and climate change features separately, then integrates them through research.

Besides, applying the correct statistical models can help in detecting climate change after observing weather patterns in a single day. In the past, climate researchers have published studies claiming that climate is not related to weather and that climate change refers to the variation in weather distribution that gradually emanates from significant variability over multiple decades (Sippel et al., 2020). However, in the recent past, it has been possible to detect the extent of externally catapulted climate change and consequent global warming by observing the moisture and temperature levels within a single day (Sippel et al., 2020). The detection strategy entails climate model simulations and statistical learning that summarize the connection between spatial patterns of daily humidity and temperature and significant climate change statistics such as annual world average energy imbalance or temperature (Sippel et al., 2020). These observations are essential in detecting climate change by projecting onto this relationship.

Even though local weather changes emerge after numerous years, worldwide climate change is now instantaneously detected. For instance, the climate change fingerprint is detectable from any global daily recorded observations spanning from 1999 to 2012, as well as from 2012 to date (Sippel et al., 2020). Additionally, the detection level is adequate even if one ignores the dominant global warming trend. This reinforces the conventional climate change detection strategies and paves the way for more comprehensive ideologies for understanding climate change. In particular, it opens perceptions for communicating regional weather occurrences, thereby adapting the climate change narrative.

Connection between Climate Change and Other Course Topics

Illustrating the connection between and other concepts
Fig. 1. Illustrating the connection between and other concepts (own diagram).

Climate Change is connected to other course topics such as malnutrition, obesity pandemic, low income, and reduced GDP. Climate change, malnutrition, and obesity constitute significant pandemics in the present world. Dietz (2020) investigated the relationship between climate change, obesity, malnutrition and their impacts on the well-being of human health and environmental prosperity. For instance, under-nutrition and obesity each adversely impact roughly 2 billion persons globally. Above 150 million children experienced stunted growth due to malnutrition (Dietz, 2020). Furthermore, obesity has serious economic impacts in terms of GDP. For instance, expenditure on obesity results in approximately 3% of the globe’s GDP, and the malnutrition-related costs in Africa and Asia account for between 4% and 11% of the gross domestic product (Dietz, 2020). Besides, when unmitigated, climate change can result in significant economic costs that will supersede 10% of the United States GDP and 7% of the world by 2100 (Dietz, 2020). Against this backdrop, the future of the planet and human health relies on the capability to suppress anthropogenic activities that fuel climate change. The modifications in transport systems, agriculture, and food systems can reduce colon cancer, cardiovascular diseases, malnutrition, and obesity and mitigate climate change.

Climate change, malnutrition, and obesity pandemics also make up a syndemic since they share similar underlying aspects, possess synergistic adverse impacts on each other, and interact with each other in place and time. Solutions aimed to suppress the syndemic of climate change, undernutrition, and obesity entails the elimination of commodity crop subsidies to cut beef production, suppress its demand, raise its prices and reduce cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer, and obesity (Dietz, 2020). Moreover, reducing beef production will cut down the emissions of greenhouse gases (Dietz, 2020). Additionally, modifying urban design can improve public transport and physical activity, reduce GHGs and inhibit obesity. Whereas these policies aimed at suppressing the syndemic of climate change, undernutrition, and obesity disrupt normal capitalistic operations and erupt political tensions, adopting them can mitigate climate change in the long-term. Society should care about climate change mitigation because it will facilitate agricultural productivity and food availability, safeguard the health of the entire population, inhibit adverse and destructive weather conditions, shield the loss of biodiversity, and mitigate related economic losses. Climate change fits under sustainable development goal number 13(SDG13), which emphasizes the necessity of nations to invest in low carbon production activities, strive to minimize the carbon footprint, and embrace green energy. Oppression fits in this case in that that the capitalists and powerful political institutions oppose climate change mitigation initiatives and instead develop policy frameworks that facilitate pollution and the detrimental impacts of climate change such as harsh weather conditions, poor health low agricultural productivity, and malnutrition.

Hegemony in Climate Change

The climate change issue is influenced by economic, political, and social hegemonies. The economic hegemonies that facilitate climate change entail capitalism, rapid industrialization, and rampant waste disposal, as well as policies that safeguard fossil fuel sales and use in transport, industries, and running equipment. Besides, the economic forces that necessitate the production of furniture and paper products emanating from felled trees and proponents of inorganic fertilizers also facilitate climate change. Furthermore, the political hegemonies that propagate climate change entail government legislations that license greenhouse gas emitting activities such as coal mining, high carbon dependency, and inorganic farming. Besides, the social hegemonies entail the cultural, ethnic, racial, and religious beliefs that facilitate climate greenhouse emissions, for instance, cremation.

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The dominant hegemonic discourse propagating climate change entails overreliance on industrial, agricultural, and transport activities that release significant amounts of greenhouse gases. Moreover, the hidden hegemonic discourse that facilitates climate change entails capitalism that facilitates environmentally unsustainable production activities. I have purposed to inhibit activities that propagate environmental degradation. Firstly, I have subscribed to the carbon tax to ensure that I pay any carbon whose release I am responsible for and generate funds that support climate change mitigation initiatives. Moreover, I regularly utilize renewable energy sources such as solar, biogas, and hydroelectric energy to cut down greenhouse gas emissions. Likewise, I regularly contribute to climate change initiatives as a donor, both in local, regional, and international organizations.

Additionally, I provide a voice to the climate change initiatives through face-to-face conversations as well as via digital platforms. I strive to communicate messages on the causes of climate change, its detrimental impacts, and mitigation strategies to my friends and the public via social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter. Besides, I regularly develop YouTube videos that voice my concern on the drastically progressing global warming and the significance of assuming its mitigation strategies at the individual level. Moreover, I write articles aimed to pass messages on the significance of the socio-economic advantages of mitigating climate change and share them with my friends to encourage them to adapt my recommendations described therein.

Actions Taken and Lessons Learned

Actions Taken

My personal actions involved taking part in voluntary environmental protection initiatives such as waste collection and tree planting sessions. Furthermore, I have undertaken facilitate local, regional, and international climate change initiatives by contributing to a carbon tax as well as climate change agency kitties. Additionally, my political actions involved taking part in the election of environmental protection officials in our school. Furthermore, I participated in the election of community health volunteers who were tasked with spreading awareness on the importance of environmental conservation. Furthermore, my awareness actions encompassed sharing my ideas on climate change mitigation strategies through face-to-face interactions, direct messaging, calls, and via social media posts and discussions. Some of the awareness messages I passed to my friends, family, and the public include the significance of embracing renewable energy sources, avoiding careful dumping of wastes, campaigning against deforestation activities.

Lessons Learned

My experience in countering social injustice has improved my appreciation for the courage, standing up for what I believe in, and countering negative hegemonic forces. From my interactions with individuals during my social media campaigns campaigning against climate change, I got overwhelming support and positive comments appreciating my efforts. For instance, one social media user on Twitter commented that “I agree with your emphasis that we should all join hands in protecting the earth from irreversible destruction from climate change before it is too late.” Besides, my most significant lesson is that the fight against climate change should not be primarily left for government institutions and international organizations and instead should be spearheaded by citizens from all nations at grass root levels. If given a chance, I would make sure to develop regular virtual meetings with various people across the globe to share our experience and come up with innovative frameworks for mitigating global warming and climate change.

Conclusion

Climate change remains a widespread challenge in the current world due to its widespread socio-economic impacts. Some of the significant causes of climate change include dominant industrialization activities, over-reliance on fossil fuels, deforestation activities, improper waste disposals, and inorganic farming activities that increase greenhouse emissions. To combat climate change, various local and international organizations have come up with policy initiatives such as the RCP-SSP system, Paris agreement, Nbs, and daily weather pattern detection systems to help combat climate change. However, individuals must support the existing organizational frameworks by using renewable energy sources, avoiding deforestation and inorganic farming, ensuring proper waste disposal, and improving environmental protection awareness.

References

Dietz, W. H. (2020). Climate change and malnutrition: We need to act now. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 130(2), 556-558.

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O’Neill, B.C., Carter, T.R., Ebi, K. et al. (2020). Achievements and needs for the climate change scenario framework. Nature Climate Change, 10, 1074-1084.

Seddon, N., Chausson, A., Berry, P., Girardin, C.A.J., Smith, A., Turner, B. (2020). Understanding the value and limits of nature-based solutions to climate change and other global challenges. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 375, 1-12.

Sippel, S., Meinshausen, N., Fischer, E. M., Székely, E., & Knutti, R. (2020). Climate change now detectable from any single day of weather at global scale. Nature climate change, 10(1), 35-41.

Skeie, R.B., Peters, G.P., Fuglestvedt, J., Fuglestvedt, J., & Andrew, R. (2021). A future perspective of historical contributions to climate change. Climatic Change, 164(24), 1-13.

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