BMJ Blog - Apocalypse tomorrow. Climate Change, Health and Security
Blog by Tracey Koehlmoos below ...
BMJ Blog by Julian Sheather (BMA Ethics Manager)
There are four horsemen of the apocalypse: conquest, war, famine (or pestilence) and death, and climate change will unleash all of them.
I (Julian Sheather) was at a BMJ conference recently that explored some of the health and security impacts of climate change and these grim riders were everywhere to be seen.
Put simply, climate change will alter the distribution of human necessities like food and fresh water. Green places will become barren, rivers will run dry. The need to secure access to these basic goods will drive people to war. Add to this the death toll from severe weather events – droughts, hurricanes, floods – and changing distributions of infectious disease vectors and .... you wonder why people who are fully signed up to the problem behave almost without exception as if nothing is happening ....
(Apocalypse comes from the Greek for “lifting the veil,” the revealing of secrets or truths that were previously hidden.)
Read more from Julian's Blog.
More on the conference on our website and below.
by Professor Hugh Montgomery, Director of the University College London Institute for Human Health & Performance on security risk and health. Hugh's podcast begins at 8 min 30 seconds
featuring Chris Huhne's opening speech at the Health, Climate Change and Security conferenc
e. You can see it here at 4 mins 40 secs
. You can see further video from the conference on the BMJ's youtube channel.
Blog by Tracey Koehlmoos (The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh).
The health risks from climate change might seem more obvious than the security risks, but what I (Tracey Koehlmoos) learnt is that situations in Darfur and Somalia are the perfect storm examples of the intersection of climate change, health and security.
In Bangladesh, if we project forward to a world without improvement and with increased violent weather and rising sea levels, we will encounter a situation in which some 75 million Bangladeshi people (half of the population) are at risk of displacement along with the stability of the nation despite long term excellence in disaster planning and management.
Read more from Tracey Koehlmoos blog:
Other Blogs by Julian Sheather
During the years when the Book of Revelations was being laid down, some time apparently in the first century AD, human populations were likely, with some exceptions, to be small, imperilled, and surrounded by a seemingly infinite planet.
Officially at least, on October the 31st this year the population of the earth reached seven billion. And there are times when, psychologically at least, the planet seems to have shrunk to the size of a smartphone. As I blogged here following a recent BMJ conference, climate change looks set to release all four horseman of the apocalypse. Population growth might well be the fifth ...
Read Julian Sheather's (Ethics Manager at the BMA) blog on the BMJ website.
Julian also references in his blog an article by Robin Stott (Climate and Health Council).
Robin points out in the BMJ (BMJ 2011;343:bmj.d7003), countries with high development, low fertility, and better overall health emit more than 10 tonnes of carbon per person per year; less developed countries with higher fertility consume about one and a half. The links between health, population, and the environment are therefore complex.
Read Robin Stott's article.