Discussions about climate change and the effects it will have on public health and the global burden of disease have been long in the making. These consequences are now starting to come to fore.
Several examples have recently played out. For example, in Russia, an anthrax outbreak in the remote region of Siberia meant that nomadic communities and thousands of reindeer were affected. The outbreak was due to the bodies of infected people buried in 1941 defrosting and releasing anthrax spores into the water system as the permafrost defrosts with global warming.
Closer to home, prisoners are starving in Malawian jails and suffering from acute severe malnutrition as a result of food shortages due to erratic climate conditions from both droughts and floods. Malawi has since declared a state of national disaster.
These unanticipated public health consequences of unsustainable development reminds the world that the issues are not in the distant future, but instead face us now.