EMERGING diseases and disasters relate to climate change. As the planet heats up, animals big and small, on land and in the sea, are headed to the poles to get away from the heat. That means animals are coming into contact with other animals they normally wouldn’t, and that creates an opportunity for pathogens to get into new hosts.
Many of the root causes of climate change also increase the risk of pandemics. Deforestation, which occurs mostly for agricultural purposes, is the largest cause of habitat loss worldwide. Loss of habitats forces animals to migrate and potentially come into contact with other animals or people and share micro organisms.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the world’s leading body of climate experts – has warned that we have only 10 years left to keep the global rise in temperature to a maximum of 1.5°C, beyond which even a further half degree increase will significantly worsen the risk of droughts, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Therefore, we as a country need to address climate change and turn to renewable energy.
In the United States, the green technology market is estimated to have grown from US$8.7bil in 2019 to US$28.9bil by 2024 (RM37.1bil to RM123.3bil). Green technology investments can take a variety of forms, with increases in wind power and electric vehicle developments and the installation of renewable power capacity.
Leadership is much needed to prepare our young people to tap into this. More young people should be involved in capacity building, research and development, and funding schemes for green technologies. These young people may be able to obtain high-paying jobs in clean energy industries in the future.
It is this type of leadership that we need for our young people. Leaders that level-up to address complex issues like climate change and its solutions. Not leaders who assist young people to make a quick buck by selling e-cigarettes and vaping products.
They are putting young people at risk of becoming new nicotine addicts and exposing them to other dangerous drug abuses through the usage of vape devices.
We need leaders who build up our young people, not throw them under the bus for money.
ZAINAL ARIFFIN OMAR & SITI NURBAYA SHAHRIR
Note: The writers are part of the Sunrise Project in the Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association.
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