I’d like you to take a crack at the impact climate change will have on our existing Homeland Security and Border Security. Regardless of whether or not you believe that climate change is real – the U.S. Military does and the Department of Defense is taking extensive measures to prepare for impact to coastal regions as well as the need to completely rebuild many of our naval bases, change our ship design criteria for arctic operations, etc. Clearly somebody is taking an interest in the topic and its potential impact.
So – instead of looking at the topic from a military or national perspective, thinking about all you have learned from all your other courses, as well as what we’ve already looked at in this course, including SOC and Natural Security, identify 5 real concerns that we should be preparing to deal with that we are not actually dealing with that are directly related to climate change. This will require real introspection and application of what you’ve learned in other courses. This is not going to be a quick and easy paper to write and should be very well thought out. Particularly since I’m going to hold you to the page limits. You are expected to write succinctly without fluff and fillers. Produce a short paper that addresses each of your concerns independently.
In other words – your paper should initially be 7 pages long: a cover page, one page for each of the 5 real concerns, and a reference page. Now expand your paper to 9 pages of content and address potential solutions to each of your 5 concerns. 5 concerns we should be preparing to deal with that we are not directly related to climate change and national security taking into consideration SOC, no military or national perspective:
Since global average temperatures are projected to increase significantly by the end of this century, an associated rise in sea level is also expected. The number of people at risk from flooding by coastal storm surges is projected to increase from the current 75 million to 200 million.
instead of looking at the topic from a military or national perspective, thinking about all you have learned from all your other courses, as well as what we’ve already looked at in this course, including SOC and Natural Security, identify 5 real concerns that we should be preparing to deal with that we are not actually dealing with that are directly related to climate change. Changes in the environment affect how the U.S. operates and controls its borders. Areas that couldn’t be traveled through before may open up soon, causing the U.S. to need to adjust its national security. The U.S. operates in the Middle East, changing weather patterns and droughts in already troubled spots like Yemen, Somalia, and South Sudan can cause issues for troops stationed there.
The impact of climate change on the health of humans can be seen worldwide. While some issues have been addressed for years, others are just being realized and some problems still have not been addressed. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been reviewing scientific research since 1988 to provide governments with summaries and recommendations on climate problems. The IPCC recently concluded that the average temperature of the earth’s surface has risen by 33 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1800s and that it is expected to increase by another 35 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. The main cause of this significant increase is linked to a century and a half of industrialization with the burning of oil, gasoline, and coal. Primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions include electricity, transportation, industry, and agriculture. In addition to climate change impacting human health, the emissions have a direct impact on human health, like increased air pollution harming lungs and hearts, causing further issues.
The World Health Organization estimates that the warming and precipitation trends due to anthropogenic climate change of the past 30 years already claim over 150,000 lives annually. One of the non-infectious health effects from rising temperatures include heat-related deaths. Although rising temperatures and heat waves are related, they are not synonymous. Numerous studies have been conducted over the past decade to determine if climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of heat waves or causing temperature extremes. A study conducted with the National Center for Atmospheric Research found that 70–75 % of global land area with data coverage saw a statistically significant increase in minimum temperatures, while 40–50 % of global land area experienced an increase in maximum temperatures over the period 1951–2003.
Exposure to extreme heat or cold can cause cardiac failure, stroke, or a fatal respiratory infection. Organisms like mosquitoes and ticks that carry infectious diseases are affected by fluctuations in temperature. Climate affects the survival and distribution of these carriers, meaning they could expand or alter their ranges because of climate change. This could introduce diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and Lyme disease into new areas. Temperature has been found to affect food-borne infectious diseases, too. Of the reported salmonellosis cases across continental Europe, 30% can be contributed to higher than average temperatures.
The exposure to health hazards related to climate change affect different areas and people to various degrees. The most vulnerable individuals include elderly people, children, low-income areas, and disabled persons but everyone could be affected. Health hazards are typically assessed individually, but exposure to multiple climate change hazards could occur at the same time. For example, extremely hot days can lead to heat-related illnesses and poor air quality by increasing the chemical reactions that produce smog. Additionally, a person’s sensitivity to the environment, exposure, and ability to adapt can determine whether they become ill.
Public health professionals and scientists have called for attention to the public health perspective of climate change. The impacts of climate change on public health are projected to increase over the next century. Addressing this issue will need to involve an understanding of how the climate is changing and how the changes may impact human health. Responding to these health issues will require a multilevel and integrated effort between health and government agencies. A comprehensive understanding of the relationship between climate and health can enable government and health agencies to address the climate change issue, mitigate the negative effects on human health, and identify what further research needs to be conducted.
Currently, research on the public health implications of climate change is being conducted in different regions of the world. Since the effects of climate change vary per region, health professionals need to recognize the differences between regions, population groups, and individual vulnerability factors. For these reasons, prevention, mitigation, and response must be complex to address these varying factors. Information is the key to responding to public health issues associated with climate change. Agencies need to develop the ability to measure changes in the impact of infectious diseases on populations in the United States and other countries worldwide. Multiple studies across various regions will enable health professionals to predict the transmission of disease under different climate conditions and estimate the most cost-effective mitigation strategies. Infectious diseases do not follow national borders, therefore a multinational and collaborative approach between the U.S. and other countries is essential to control disease.
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