A hypothesis is a proposition that tries to explain the facts or phenomena in a study. It is normally used in science-related studies because scientific procedures are used in testing it. A hypothesis is important when carrying out a study because it gives guidance on how the study should be conducted (Wellek 12). The hypothesis of my study is:
If climate change is not controlled, there will be an increase in the number of health complications.
For a very long time, scientists have clarified the relationship between the quality of air in our environment and climate change. In fact, various researches that try to explain the effect of climate change on indoor environment are underway. Researches that have been accomplished indicate that climate change can adversely affect us since we spend most of our time indoors. Basically, we spend a lot of time indoors e.g. when we are at school, work, or home. The degradation of indoor environmental quality will affect the quality of air that we inhale, our health and the energy consumption. In that case, there is a need to take necessary measures in order to protect indoor environmental conditions.
Our indoor environments are under threat. We no longer enjoy healthy conditions at home, school and our places of work. This is because climate change has affected the original status of the environment. This paper will examine and elaborate the dangers that are brought about by climate change. It will also elaborate some mitigation strategies that will help will fighting climate change.
Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of the study are:
- To investigate how climate change impacts our indoor environments.
- To propose mitigation strategies of climate change.
Since the initial measurement of the greenhouse gases in 1958 by a scientist called Revelle, it is sad to note that the rate of climate change has been increasing at an alarming rate in most parts of the world. Since 1958, various scientists have always warned of the dangers of climate change. (Dow et al, 88) Despite numerous warnings that have been given, little has been done to control climate change. Man has continued to carry out various activities that promote it. For instance, the use of fossil fuels has been on the rise. In addition, deforestation has been a major challenge in most parts of the world. Generally, most human practices directly contribute to climate change.
Environmentalists and various governments have taken lead in educating people about the dangers of climate change. They have encouraged people to use alternative sources of fuel instead of fossil fuels. They have also issued incentives to those who adopt environmental protection strategies. Moreover, a lot of regulations and laws that prohibit the use of chlorofluorocarbons have been enacted. The laws were enacted in accordance to the reports that were arrived at in Montreal and Kyoto. The Montreal and Kyoto protocol panels clarified that if the ozone depleting substances are not controlled, the ozone layer will eventually get depleted completely.
The amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have steadily increased over time. These changes have been summarized in the table below;
|Type of gas||Year 1000 to 1800||Year 2001||Year 2050 (If no action is taken)|
|Carbon dioxide||270 ppm||350 ppm||600 ppm|
|Methane||700 ppb||1750 ppb||3000 ppb|
|Nitric dioxide||280 ppb||316 ppb||380 ppb|
|The ozone||It varies||It varies||Nil|
Ppb – This abbreviation stands for parts per billion. It indicates the concentration of gas in the atmosphere.
Ppm – This abbreviation stands for parts per million.
The above table indicates that if the rates at which the gases are emitted into the atmosphere are not controlled, their levels will constantly increase with time. By 2050, the ozone layer will no longer be there since it gets depleted slowly by slowly.
Impacts of Climate Change on Indoor Environment
Climate change affects the quality of indoor environment in a number of ways. The main effects of climate change are directly related to the internal environment
According to a research that was conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, there are five major indoor environmental challenges that are brought about by climate change. These problems include:
Poor Indoor Air Quality
Indoor environments can be negatively affected by various factors. For instance, various types of pollutants that originate from outdoor activities can affect indoor environment. In addition, emissions from household items such as stoves and use of tobacco cigarettes can also affect the quality of indoor air quality.
Climate change can also affect the quality of indoor air. Climate change affects the outdoor environment which will in turn affect the indoor environment (Murphy et al 67). For example, an increase in the concentration of outdoor pollutants will affect the quality of indoor air. Changes in the concentration of outdoor air may result from changes in atmospheric pressure. Other environmental factors may also affect the concentration of outdoor air.
Dampness and Moisture
Climate change may lead to changes in the weather conditions. This may result in breakdowns of barriers that divide the indoor and outdoor spaces. When the breakages occur, they will allow entry of water into the indoor areas. When water finds their way into the indoor spaces, damp conditions will develop. Such conditions are conducive for the development of disease causing organisms such as bacteria and fungi. Damp conditions also reduce the lifespan of building materials. The materials will rot since they come in contact with moisture. When they rot, they emit special types of chemicals which may be harmful to our health.
Increase in the Number Diseases Causing Organisms
Changes in weather and climatic conditions can bring harm. Such changes influence the development of various health complications. Basically, climate change has a direct impact on the emergence of various diseases. This is because climate change affects the geographic ranges of pathogens. It is also important to understand that climatic change affects the ecological niches of various pests. This is the reason why pest infestations are prevalent in most parts of the world nowadays. Climate change also affects the patterns of exposure to various diseases.
Climate change results in thermal stress. Too much heat and cold are known to bring harmful effects on our health. When the relative humidity is high, people who live in hot areas are most likely to contract various ailments. On the other hand, an increase in the frequencies of weather events may cause interruptions of power supply. On the other hand, Individuals with poor health are less likely to experience comfort during harsh climatic conditions. The old are not better too. They are most likely to develop ailments that are associated with high temperatures.
Excessive Energy Requirements Due To Ventilation Problems
Too much heat causes discomfort. This will call for new ventilation requirement in our homes. If ventilation facilities are poor in our homes, we will be forced to take alternative measures e.g. weatherization measures. If poor weatherization techniques are used, house occupants will be exposed to various health risks.
Recommendations for Reducing the Impacts of Climate Change on Indoor Environments
There are various recommendations that can be adopted so as to reduce the effects of climate change on our indoor environment (Lerner 70). The recommendations are based on the following principles:
- Formulation of sound policies and programs that address health effects of climate change.
- Creation of preventive measures that will reduce exposures to the effect of climate change.
- Gathering information on how climate change can be prevented in future.
If the principles above are adhered to fully, the implementation of the following recommendations will be easy.
Creation of programs that will aid in identification of individuals who are at risk of developing health concerns that result from the effects of climate change.
Formulating protocols and standards that can be used to ascertain the amount harmful emissions that originate from products such as home appliances that are used at home.
Encouraging researches that attempts to identify measures that can promote mitigation of climate change.
Encouraging others to adopt appropriate building codes. The codes should promote good ventilation in buildings.
Development of house ventilation standards that promote good health. These standards should promote good health among the occupants of the building.
Enacting public health surveillance laws that will promote the adoption of the proposed building characteristics and good indoor environments.
Organization of education programs that will sensitize the public on the effects of climate change on their health. The education programs should also impart knowledge on climate change mitigation strategies.
It is true that climate change has a direct impact on our indoor environments. When the climatic conditions change, two cases may arise. Firstly, the existing indoor conditions may worsen. Secondly, it may result in the introduction of new dangers to the occupants of the house. Whatever the case, the conditions will negatively affect the normal functioning of people (Tanaka& Shelley, 57). Therefore, all conditions that promote the alteration of indoor environmental conditions should be controlled. This conclusion is based on the following points;
When indoor environmental conditions are poor, we will not be able to work well. In that case, poor conditions can ruin a country’s economy since the residents will not be able to work normally. Moreover, a lot of money will be used in treating people.
Various strategies should be adopted so as to improve public health. It is also important to create climate change mitigation measures.
This study supports my hypothesis. If we do not take measures to control climate change, various types of diseases will develop. In addition, disease causing organisms will spread to various parts of the world. This will put pressure on various countries thus lowering their economic performance. Climate change may also cause mutation of various disease causing organisms. They will become resistant to medications.
Dow, Kirstin, and Thomas E. Downing. The atlas of climate change: mapping the world’s greatest challenge. 3rd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Print.
Lerner, Adrienne Wilmoth, and Chiara Pierre. Climate change. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2009. Print.
Murphy, Kevin R., and Brett Myors. Statistical power analysis a simple and general model for traditional and modern hypothesis tests. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates, 1998. Print.
Tanaka, Shelley. Climate change. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2006. Print.
Wellek, Stefan. Testing statistical hypotheses of equivalence and noninferiority. 2nd ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2010. Print.