Three actions you can take to protect human health from climate change

By Fodhla O'Connell-Grennell

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have reported that climate change directly impacts human health. They have estimated that between 2030 and 2050, climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from climate-related illnesses, such as heat stress, malnutrition and malaria.

The most worrying aspect of this projection is that climate change is disproportionately affecting the world, and therefore, the majority of people who will die will live in the global south, the poorest areas in the world. The irony about this is that 92% of the world’s excess emissions are omitted by the global north. In order to lessen this impact and to protect vulnerable communities from the environmental conditions they did not cause, there are several steps that we, in the global north, can take to mitigate the climate crisis.

Friends of the Earth in the United Kingdom have listed out what needs to be done – and we will interpret this to our Irish context. Firstly, we need to demand action from the government. This means communication – emails, phone calls, social media posts and so on. We need to get their attention because individual responsibility is not enough alone to stop the changing climate. Companies, especially multinational companies, need to do more and we need to make it clear to our government that this is what we want. The greens are in so let’s make perfect use of them!

Secondly, take action in your community. If you don’t already have one, set up a community group either over text, Facebook or door-to-door flyers. It is important that communities connect so that you can facilitate collective action in your area – maybe there are things that frustrate you, for example, you may want to expand the availability of bins in your area; from only general waste to having recyclables and compost bins too.

Thirdly, you can volunteer or donate to a charity. In Ireland, we are generally good at giving up our time to help others and unfortunately with climate change, most charities and organisations will be impacted by this regardless of what they advocate for. What this means is, yes you can definitely help organisations that were directly set up to tackle climate change, such as, Friends of the Earth Ireland or you can also see if organisations, such as, Focus Ireland may need your assistance with a project they are working on – in which you can further communicate and educate people about climate change and why it is important to that charity or group.

These are only some of the beginning stepping-stones to a sustainable future. Are you already doing all of these actions? Find more actions here on the Friends of the Earth UK website.