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3110MED Climate Change And Public Health

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3110MED Climate Change And Public Health

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3110MED Climate Change And Public Health

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Course Code: 3110MED
University: Griffith University is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: Australia


Topic for this essay is climate change and negative impacts on health and/or wellbeing (e.g., legal, economic, educational, ethical or health related contexts)
Pay attention to the local and global aspects, bring the principles of common good and human dignity explicitly in your writing and demonstrate that you understand the notion of advocacy and its relationship to community engagement in the context of principles of CST.

Briefly critiques a global issue where shared responsibility for the common good is not being realised and then, propose ways to address this challenge  in your professional community, locally and especially globally.
To demonstrate your ability to apply your knowledge and understanding of principles of human dignity, advocacy, and community engagement to potential ways to address the challenge of realising the common good in a global context.


According to Akompab et al. (2013), the phenomenon of climate change is characterized by the alteration in the global or regional climate patterns. In this regard, it should be mentioned that the climate change data collected in between the mid to late 20th century reveal a significant increase in the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide majorly on account of fossil fuel emission. Climate change is already affecting humanity worldwide. For instance, the rise of sea level in Alaska and Louisiana is causing large scale human displacement. On the other hand, Zimbabwe has been reported to be affected with the worst drought and the hottest summer. According to Bowles et al. (2015), the years between 2030 to 2050 would witness extremes of climate change that would lead to a huge number of deaths because of malnutrition, heat stress, malaria and diarrhoea. The poor and the vulnerable proportion of the society who contribute least to the problem would be disastrously affected. The recent decision of President Trump to withdraw US from the Paris Agreement and cease the funding to the Green Climate Fund has deeply saddened the organization connected with the Catholic Climate Covenant. Since time immemorial, the Catholic Social Teaching has emphasised upon the provision of care to the poor and needy but at present, the issue of climate change has been highlighted by St. John Paul II, Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for human welfare.  In this regard, it should be mentioned that the Catholic moral and social teaching has always prioritized the concern for common good. Any destructive and irreversible phenomenon that disrupts the harmonious equilibrium of the ecosystems or the biosphere as a whole (for instance, global warming) would disastrously impact the common good (, 2019). Therefore, it is exceedingly important to pay critical attention to the phenomenon and adapt effective strategies so as to observe common good.
The earth has considerably warmed over the previous century which has been substantially proven on the basis of recorded temperatures collected from polar ice caps, ocean and air temperatures (Data U, 2019). In this regard, the human contribution towards the deterioration of the environment is undeniable. According to the report published by the US National Climate Assessment (2014), it has been mentioned that the rising temperature is responsible for causing extremes of weather conditions such as melting snow, rising sea levels, causing natural disasters and negatively affecting the US economy (Data U, 2019). Global warming would adversely affect the global systems which would lead to major problems with water supply. Studies reveal that global warming would limit the availability of fresh water for human consumption as well as for irrigation (Franchini & Mannucci, 2015; Huang et al., 2013). This would directly limit the cropping areas of paddy rice that would subsequently lead to starvation and affect common welfare. Another, disastrous impact of global warming can be mentioned as Desertification. Studies have mentioned that more than 770 square miles of China transforms into a desert every year (Department of Environment and Energy, 2019; McMichael, 2013). Desertification is not exclusively caused by global warming but is also triggered by human activities such as overgrazing and agricultural practices. In addition to this, global climate reports have also revealed declining rainfall and a two fold increase of temperature in context to the global average (Franchini & Mannucci, 2015). Global warming has also led to an increase in the frequency of hurricanes and storms. In this regard, it should be mentioned that since the year 2005, the frequency of hurricanes and storms within the Atlantic-Carribean region has considerably increased with the hurricane Katrina being recorded as the most destructive one which destroyed New Orleans and a major proportion of the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Alabama (Kjellstrom & McMichael, 2013). The hurricane caused major loses of life and property.
The rise of sea level due to global warming is an established scientific fact. However, recent climate change reports indicate that the sea level could rise and expand in between the range of four inches to three feet by 2100 (Lesnikowski et al., 2013). This would cause massive flooding of the lowland areas and widespread damage of life and property.
The widespread damage of life and property caused by the natural calamities has successfully attracted the attention of the insurance companies. Munich-Re, a renowned insurance company has placed a report that mentions the fact that climate change could lead to world- wide losses equivalent up to hundred billion US dollars per year. The loses could range from one tenth of a percent of the GNP for developed countries to more than 10% for developing and small island countries (Fankhauser, 2013; Patz et al., 2014).
In relation to the destruction of ecosystem and extinction of living organisms, the Church must preach the teachings embedded in the Gospel of Life. As a matter of fact, the concept of Bio-responsibility expects us to “extend the covenant of justice that we find in to bible to include life-forms as God’s beloved creatures and as expression of God’s presence, wisdom, power and glory”.
In this regard, it should be mentioned that the menacing scenario could be effectively tackled with the application of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching (CST) that emphasises upon using the doctrine of the Gospel to transform the world into a better place. The CST widely emphasises on four major domains that include the consideration of Life and Dignity of the Human Person, Providing for the poor and vulnerable, solidarity and Care for God’s Creation (, 2019). According to the report published by the World Health Organization, it has been mentioned that climate change leads to 150,000 cases of annual fatalities and approximately 250,000 deaths on account of ailments such as malaria, diarrhea and heat stress (Huang etal., 2013). The first domain focuses on addressing climate change to value life and dignity of human person in order to observe common good. For the promotion of common good, it is vital to understand that human beings coexist with one another in a manner that fundamentally safeguards the rights of all the people. The common good is not merely restricted to the concern of today but also considers the wellbeing of the future generation. Therefore, collective effort could help in addressing the issue of global climate change. The next domain emphasises on fostering provision to provide relief to the poor and vulnerable section of the society from the effect of a natural disaster and assure them a decent standard of living. The third domain focuses on conserving the resources of nature so as to ensure an equal share in utilising the resources with the future generation. The fourth domain addresses the ethical and moral aspect of the environmental challenge and strongly suggests that the Earth has been created by God and climate change is drastically affecting the quality of God’s creation. As responsible children of God or servant leaders we must ensure proper maintenance of God’s marvellous creation. Therefore, the principles of CST can be effectively used to engage community members and impart awareness about the serious implication of climate change on the fate of humanity (, 2019). Further, awareness about climate change could also help in acquiring finance and running charitable institutions in order to offer support to the poor and vulnerable section of the society affected by a natural disaster. Community workshops about conservation of the environment can be used to educate people about judiciously using the resources and not wasting them. Further, informative workshops about recycling goods can help in preventing the misuse of resources. Also, installation of solar panels and rain water harvesting systems could be used to conserve electricity. In addition to this, social development programs such as empowerment of women, employment schemes or education programs could help in providing education and employment assistance to the victims of a natural disaster within a community.
Therefore, to conclude, it can be said that as per the research studies, it is possible to significantly reduce the greenhouse emissions. The reduction could be enforced with the stringent enforcement of the combination of policy measures within the areas of energy supply and use. Also, technological innovation could be used to facilitate conservation of energy. Complying with the policy measures, would render a significant reduction in the emission of the greenhouse gases that would subsequently harbour a healthy planet for human living. The issue of climate change and its adverse effects is undeniable and thus it is a signal for the Christian community to adapt a changing life style that is based on simplicity. In association with the political, moral and religious aspect, the issue of climate change and global warming must alarm the Christian community to give up the greed of materialistic possession and opt for a simple life so as to make the earth better place to thrive.
Akompab, D. A., Bi, P., Williams, S., Grant, J., Walker, I. A., & Augoustinos, M. (2013). Heat waves and climate change: applying the health belief model to identify predictors of risk perception and adaptive behaviours in Adelaide, Australia. International journal of environmental research and public health, 10(6), 2164-2184.
Bowles, D. C., Butler, C. D., & Morisetti, N. (2015). Climate change, conflict and health. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 108(10), 390-395. (2019). Catholic perspective on climate change. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Jan. 2019].
Data, U. (2019). Climate – United States – Monthly averages. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Jan. 2019].
Department of the Environment and Energy (2019). Department of the Environment and Energy. [online] Department of the Environment and Energy. Available at: [Accessed 23 Jan. 2019].
Fankhauser, S. (2013). Valuing climate change: the economics of the greenhouse. Routledge.pp.118
Franchini, M. and Mannucci, P.M., 2015. Impact on human health of climate changes. European journal of internal medicine, 26(1), pp.1-5.
Huang, C., Barnett, A. G., Xu, Z., Chu, C., Wang, X., Turner, L. R., & Tong, S. (2013). Managing the health effects of temperature in response to climate change: challenges ahead. Environmental health perspectives, 121(4), 415.
Kjellstrom, T., & McMichael, A. J. (2013). Climate change threats to population health and well-being: the imperative of protective solutions that will last. Global health action, 6(1), 20816.
Lesnikowski, A. C., Ford, J. D., Berrang-Ford, L., Barrera, M., Berry, P., Henderson, J., & Heymann, S. J. (2013). National-level factors affecting planned, public adaptation to health impacts of climate change. Global Environmental Change, 23(5), 1153-1163.
McMichael, A. J. (2013). Globalization, climate change, and human health. New England Journal of Medicine, 368(14), 1335-1343.
Patz, J.A., Frumkin, H., Holloway, T., Vimont, D.J. and Haines, A., 2014. Climate change: challenges and opportunities for global health. Jama, 312(15), pp.1565-1580.

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