If there is a silver lining to come out of this recent health threat, it could be that we are learning more about what the pandemic shares in common with climate change, along with some proactive steps that we can take to reduce the negative impacts of both. Let’s review some expert insight about COVID-19 and climate change.
Climate Impacts Health
Some infectious diseases spread more because of the favorable conditions created by climate change. Researchers have also found a link between polluted air exposure and respiratory diseases like COVID. Failing to address these root issues now could result in even more frequent and severe pandemics in the future. Some of the contributing factors include:
- Habitat loss – The CDC specifies that 75% of infectious diseases come from human-animal contact, and experts also have shown that COVID-19 originated in bats. Thus, diseases like this are being attributed to agriculture-driven forest loss because bats are being pushed into new places that are often more populated.
- Global warming – Hotter climates are more conducive to mosquito-borne illnesses and Lyme disease.
Experts suggest that reducing greenhouse gasses and limiting global warming can help limit the risk of infectious diseases in the future.
Pandemics Reduce Emissions
From clearer waters to smog-free skylines, overall emissions and global carbon output have dipped to historic lows during the pandemic. Research discovered a connection between decreases in greenhouse gas emissions and times of severe economic distress. The key takeaway is that instead of arguing about the causes of emissions, we should be focusing on finding solutions that can stimulate economic growth even during pandemics.
Early and Collective Actions are Key
Scientists continue to emphasize that it’s too late to take corrective actions if we wait to see what the impacts are from a crisis. It’s important to take a proactive approach early even if it seems like an overreaction. From social distancing to mask wearing efforts, collective actions are helping communities overcome the challenges caused by COVID and climate change. Even those people involved in architecture jobs have played significant roles in slowing the spread by offering advice to local authorities on how to convert buildings to health facilities, and lending tools and tech to produce PPE.
Preventing deforestation to slow animal migrations, reviewing agricultural practices to mitigate disease transmission between animals and humans, and reducing air pollution are all actions that we can take to prevent future outbreaks. As architecture recruiters, we continue to promote low carbon technologies to ensure a healthier workforce going forward.
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