Climate change in Western Australia and its impact on human health

Elsevier, Journal of Climate Change and Health, Volume 12, 1 July 2023
Teasdale N., Panegyres P.K.

Climate change is real and here. Climate change has a wide range of effects on the environment – increasing global temperatures and extreme weather events, which in turn are impacting human health. Changes in weather and man-made pollution affect the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, resulting in a serious threat to our planet and our health. By examining the current literature, using a systematic review process, we explore the current and potential impact that climate change has on human health with particular relevance to the Western Australian population. There is overwhelming evidence for climate change and how it is affecting the people of planet Earth. The environmental impact will affect human health and may result in increases in cardiovascular respiratory, neurological disorders (including neurodegeneration), vector-borne illnesses (malaria, COVID-19, Ross River Virus) and lead to a detriment in the mental health of Western Australians. Natural diseases and crises complicate healthcare. The COVD-19 pandemic revealed inadequacies in healthcare systems—shortage of healthcare workers and resources—which will compromise the ability to manage climate change induced diseases. Bushfires and raised environmental temperatures, which are particular problems for Western Australia, can impact upon climate change. Mental health may be affected through illness, drought and food insecurity. Those socially disadvantaged, individuals in remote regions and First Nations peoples will be vulnerable. An urgent response to climate change is necessary. Western Australia is particularly vulnerable to the deleterious impacts of climate change.