Investigating Links Between Climate Change and COVID-19
Updated: May 12
Two new chilling statistics have made national headlines in recent days and weeks— the United States death toll of COVID-19 has just surpassed that of the 1918 Spanish Influenza, and one in every 500 Americans has died from COVID-19. In the midst of what seems like the pandemic that will never slow down, there is still hope and progress. More people than ever are becoming vaccinated against the virus, and many people are willing to work together to help stop the spread. However, 36% percent of eligible people over the age of 12 are not vaccinated in the United States amid a powerful surge of the Delta variant.
As time passes, we know more and more about the virus. However, we are also learning its relation to climate change, because believe it or not, COVID and climate change are closely linked.
Zoonoses, Food Systems, and Habitat Management
Today, the biggest proportion of emerging infectious diseases are zoonoses, or diseases that can be naturally transmitted from various animals to humans. There are over 200 known zoonoses on Earth, and outbreaks of zoonoses will continue to increase as time goes on.
Why? Well, the answer lies in our rapidly rising population.
As we are expected to reach 11 billion people on Earth by 2100, the need for food is going to be serious. Climate change, in addition to our population numbers, is pushing the world to be more food insecure, as stranger weather coupled with increased drought and flooding make it harder to grow crops. The need for food to feed a rising population means that habitats will inevitably be destroyed to pave way for new agriculture, decreasing biodiversity.
Emerging zoonoses and declining food security circle around in a vicious cycle propelled by climate change— habitats are destroyed, and biodiversity suffers while it is likely that the only organisms that benefit are the ones that are best at transmitting diseases.
Zoonotic jumping will become more common as urbanization increases. When humans destroy a natural environment for urbanization, this does not allow the native organisms a place to thrive due to a loss of habitat. This in turn gives the zoonotic diseases the chance to jump from animals to humans, for animals would not be a viable host anymore. Environmental degradation due to our growing food demand is one major stressor that can cause the emergence of new and dangerous zoonotic diseases that can jump to humans, resulting in more COVID-like crises in the future.
COVID-19 and Environmental Justice
The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease, and it was first detected in late 2019. This is not just a public health crisis, however. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people of color over the past few years, and as we all know, geography is everything when it comes to being affected by climate change. Lower income neighborhoods in the United States are most subject to polluted environments from industrial and chemical dumping, all while being some of the hottest areas due to their commonly urban setting. The hazards brought on by climate change will be significantly more detrimental to lower income neighborhoods with people of color, and this unfortunately leads to health concerns like heart and respiratory conditions.
We have been in this pandemic long enough to see that people of color are dying at sometimes more than twice the rate of white people in our country, and this is both a public health issue and an issue of environmental justice.
Why Fighting Climate Change Can Help
Mitigation efforts like carbon capture may be able to lend a hand and provide relief for COVID-19. Our mission at Carbon Reform is clean air for people and the planet, and we got into the carbon capture game to assist in the fight against climate change. Our Carbon Capsule scrubs CO2 from the air, yielding cleaner, healthier air for all occupants of a building. In order to ensure a healthier future for all, we need to take steps together in this historic fight, and we hope carbon capture and our process will be a part of that.
To learn more about our mission of clean air for people and planet and join us in the fight against climate change, visit our website: www.carbonreform.com/