The Largely Unacknowledged Impact of Climate Change on Mental Health

by Ellen Broaddus

Eva and Robert Gifford (2016) assess the relationship between climate change and mental health, looking at the environmental causes, effects, and social factors, the individuals and communities that are most vulnerable, and possible solutions. This largely untouched field of climate change research traces many of today’s physical and mental diseases to the environmental uncertainty and fear-driven anger caused by both drastic and incremental weather pattern changes. The most ubiquitous link emphasized the increase in climate-connected psychological responses: citing floods and droughts accompanying “anxiety, shock, depression, sleep disruptions”, and heat waves being linked to increases in “homicide, suicide, and spousal abuse”. In addition to these short-term reactions, environmental insecurity has led to long-term consequences, especially in children. Recently there has been a rise of respiratory conditions and asthma as a result of air pollution, causing anxiety for children and their families. The link between natural disasters and prevalence of social withdrawal and PTSD has been shown to alter the stress responses of adolescents, putting them at “higher risk for later health challenges”. Continue reading

Pakistan’s Developing Economy in a Warming World

by JP Kiefer

Despite contributing little to greenhouse gas emissions, the poorest countries and people will be negatively affected by climate change the earliest and most severely. This is due to an increased inability to adapt to changes in crop production, water resources, and human health. Akram and Hamid (2015) determined that Pakistan would be one of the countries hit hardest by climate change. 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