Climate change is already responsible for a rising death toll and the spread of illness around the world.
With global temperatures predicted to rise dramatically in coming years, the health impacts of climate change will only get worse.
Here are some of the ways climate change is affecting people’s health:
Extreme weather events
Rising temperatures can increase the intensity, duration and frequency of extreme weather events such as fires, floods, storms and heatwaves, which are putting more people at risk of illness, post-traumatic stress or death.
Air pollution and aeroallergens
Burning fossil fuels also produces harmful pollutants that contribute to the risk of heart attack, respiratory disease and lung cancer. Warmer temperatures can increase ground level ozone (a respiratory irritant), as well as lengthen the pollen season.
The warming climate and changing rainfall patterns are increasing the incidence of illnesses spread by food and water-borne pathogens, as well as those spread by mosquitoes, ticks and parasites, such as malaria, dengue and Lyme disease.
Mental illness and stress
Ongoing environmental change and more frequent and severe weather events, combined with the social and economic impacts of climate change, are contributing to an increased risk of mental ill-health.
Food and water security
Climate change threatens the security and quality of our water sources, which has flow on effects to our overall food production.
Hotter temperatures put outdoor and manual labourers at increased risk of heat stress and heatstroke, while more extreme weather events increase the risks for emergency service workers.
Climate change will most affect the lives and health of people who are already vulnerable in our society.
As one of the highest per capita emitters and one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, Australia must lead action on the climate health emergency.
We're calling on our elected representatives to act on climate to protect our health. Please join us by signing the petition.