Thursday, April 7, 2022 is this year’s World Health Day. Recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), World Health Day is a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about the topic and work towards making a positive difference that benefits countries across the globe.
The goal of this day is to increase attention and action intended to keep both humans and the planet healthy. If implemented, this will lead to improved societies focused on well-being and result in saving some of the estimated 13 million yearly deaths attributed to avoidable environmental causes.
There are a number of factors at play when considering a problem of this magnitude. Most fall into the categories of climate and health — or both.
Climate and Environmental Issues
There are a number of modern crises that demand our attention. Some have been building up for decades, while others are newer to the scene. The burning of fossil fuels has been one of the longest lasting contributing factors to the ongoing climate crisis.
As the world warms as a result of this, we are starting to see the effects of the increased temperature in a multitude of ways. Having a hotter environment allows mosquitoes to spread diseases at an increased rate to new places.
Extreme weather events are happening more frequently than ever. This rapid change in weather is contributing to land degradation as well as water scarcity in different places. There are big health implications for those affected, who also risk being displaced as a result of the unpredictable climate.
Pollution is another major issue that continues to grow in ecosystems across the world. Plastic can be found littering every corner of the Earth, from the oceans to the mountains. As a result, microplastics are making their way into human diets.
Health and Wellness Implications
It goes without saying that many of the climate crises also deeply affect human health. Many of the repercussions for these environmental issues might not even be visible to us at this time. But even at the surface, people are starting to notice the changing temperature and become frustrated by it.
The same greenhouse gas emissions that are making the world warmer are also contributing to a number of human diseases. Many factories pump out highly processed and unhealthy foods and beverages for mass consumption. This has led to an increase in obesity, cancer, and heart disease among other health implications.
Even outside of those diseases that are directly correlated with the environmental crisis, human health is struggling. Every year brings new challenges, most recently the COVID-19 pandemic, which devastated communities in every country of the world and persists to this day.
Poverty is another uniquely human problem which must be addressed in order to achieve equitable well-being societies. To push past the collective struggles of our people and our planet, sustainability must be considered and long-term investments must be made.
As we honor World Health Day 2022, the World Health Organization is advocating for well-being societies that can make progress on all of the issues at hand. They offer a full library of resources that offer a closer look at each unique problem — as well as potential solutions.