Media Inaccurately Dramatizes Climate Refugees of Carteret Islands

by Kelly Watanabe

Media reports on the sinking Carteret Islands—Pacific atolls of Papa New Guinea—portrayed the islanders as the first direct victims of climate change; rising sea levels forced the population to migrate to Bougainville Island. John Connell (2016) puts the situation into a perspective unfiltered by the misleading media. Due to recent emphasis on climate change, the public media quickly blamed global temperature increase and rising sea levels for the lack of sustainability on the Carteret Islands (CI). Current media reports sourced their information from previous inaccurate media reports, not the actual story; the media ignored the inherent scientific evidence showing that other geographic factors were more influential. Dangerous tidal waves (tsunamis) are caused by natural recurring tectonic plate movement and violent El Niño wind patterns, not climate change. According to Connell, the brackish water and flooding created by the tides are a more pressing problem than the rising sea levels. Inadequate fresh water supply depletes crops and fish, making the land inhabitable. CI households began migrating long before evidence of climate change emerged. In reality, economic opportunity, not climate change, incentivized islanders to migrate. Continue reading

Increased Rate of Malaria Transmission found following Severe Flood Event in Western Uganda

by Hogan Marhoefer

As climate patterns and weather conditions continually change as a result of global warming, it is increasingly important to understand how these climate changes impact global health. Several areas of vector-borne disease control are very well-understood, however the influences of climate change on vector-borne disease transmission are understudied but very relevant. It is well-known that malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes and increased transmission rates relate to the success of local mosquito populations. It has also now known that global warming has contributed to increased precipitation and warmer weather in many regions, which provide a more favorable environment for mosquito reproduction success (due to increased precipitation). It is apparent that precipitation greatly influences disease transmission in Malaria, however temperature plays an equally influential role in vector-borne disease transmission. As temperatures rise, mosquito populations are able to occupy regions of higher altitude as they are no longer restricted by regions of cooler temperatures These factors are of great importance to this study because a significant number of the rural communities in the Kasese District are at relatively high elevation, and have experienced heavy rainfall. Continue reading

Health Impacts of Flooding

by Kaylee Anderson

An effect of climate change is an increase in the occurrence of floods. Particularly, in Canada flooding is five times more frequent than the occurrence of the next most common natural disaster. In addition to the obvious risk of drowning, toxin and pathogen exposure, and stress increase during flooding. A past study by Nakamura, et al. (2012) revealed an association between acute cardiovascular disease and natural disasters, such as the Japanese tsunami in 2011. Vanasse et al. (2016) examines the effect of flooding on acute cardiovascular disease in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Continue reading

The Anthropogenic Roots of Increased Flooding in Kano, Nigeria

by Dan McCabe

Intelligent planning for urban development requires an understanding of how different development paths can impact sustainability. In order to better understand what aspects of cities impact sustainability, Barau et al. (2015) investigated historical trends in the environmental resilience of Kano, Nigeria. Kano, northern Nigeria’s largest city with a population of over 2 million, has been a commercial center since the 10th century and has experienced extreme morphological changes in the centuries since then. Recently, the city has been subject to an increasing number of catastrophic flooding events that have caused deaths, exacerbated the spread of infectious diseases, and forced the relocation of hundreds of thousands of residents. As the frequency of extreme weather threatens to increase due to global climate change, Kano’s ability to respond to flooding is of great concern. Barau et al. therefore sought to determine how the city’s evolution has made it especially prone to severe floods. Continue reading