It used to be a controversial topic, climate change. Your science teacher would teach all about greenhouse gases and the ozone layer, but when you went home and ate dinner with your old man, the same info you had previously understood to be scientific fact was converted to "horse hockey" or "poppycock" and dismissed as false. Those days may have passed, and society may have more scientific proof, but our actions to prevent climate change really have remained minimal. Now we are beginning to see the implications.
In my geography class here at Penn State, we were asked to research a topic and present a plan to help find a solution. After choosing my topic, "New Malaria Outbreaks Near Mt. Kilimanjaro" a glaring problem occurred to me this has absolutely nothing to do with climate change. I was very mistaken.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is a dormant ice-covered volcano that rises above the Serengeti. Malaria is a disease, transmitted mainly through mosquitoes, which can cause fever, anemia, and various other incapacitating symptoms. Mosquitoes need warm temperatures and water to breed. So when discussing the problem of malaria in Africa, the main discussion point is the thwarting of mosquito contact with these things. In many, parts of Africa, both of these necessities are made available to them. The only places where mosquitoes cannot live are very dry parts of the desert and high elevations with cooler temperatures.
Global warming is causing villages at higher elevations to experience warmer temperatures than before. Higher temperatures along with more water equal a massive change in the quantity of mosquitoes.
There are many organizations trying to help with this new threat to human life in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. New mosquito nets and other precautionary materials are being distributed to and used by those who are in need of protection. Volunteers are devoting their time to help people half a world away, while science is developing a medical solution to the epidemic that is malaria.
I believe that this is just a snapshot of what is to come if we do not find a solution to our climate change dilemma. Maybe we are not affected by malaria, but by a whole new range of dangers that are undeterminable at this early stage in the process. If climate change is not somehow changed by our habits, there is no telling the unforeseen detriments to the human race as a whole.
Alexander J. Strohl
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom