Global Environmental Change

1. What are the psychological ramifications of global environmental change? Compare to the psychological ramifications of other past or present global issues.

The global environmental change has been linked with significant consequences on Americans’ psychological well-being. The psychological ramifications are the result of an increment in the severity of climate-related changes in the environment. Extensive research indicates that the global environmental change has caused an increase in PTSD and other mental health conditions due to the rise in the number of natural disasters (Cole, 2011). In addition, the research study by Cole (2011) indicated that the effects associated with stress, depression, and loss of community identity permeated many aspects of people’s lives. According to Freedman (2014), there is a need for the mental health community to improve their capacity to handle the intensity of impacts arising from disasters that global environmental change will stimulate. That includes the incidences of mental and social disorders that statistically rise steeply.

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Comparing global environmental change to economic inequality, a trend can be seen in their impact on the psychological well-being of the population. Economic inequality has been established as a current global issue since almost 50% of the world’s wealth is currently owned by just a mere 1% of the population (Doherty & Clayton, 2011). The income disparities have been shown to cause depression, hypertension, and obesity. Grover (2013) indicates that higher levels of income inequality in the developed countries are linked with a higher prevalence for mental illnesses. That shows that the psychological ramifications of the environmental changes and income inequality have a huge impact on the well-being of the population.

2. Water quality and quantity are significantly affected by global environmental change. Identify the factors that influence water resources and summarize the predicted effects on the human population.

Pressure on the world’s water resources is mounting, particularly, when it comes to the water quality and quantity. However, various factors have been established as having a great influence on the world’s water resources. These factors include pollution, population growth, food security demands, and population growth. In addition, research studies indicate that the rural to urban migration in many parts of the world increasingly affects the water resources (Grover, 2013).

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Environmental problems have been predicted to be aggravated by the population explosions. It is estimated that by 2050, the world’s human population will be approximately 9 billion (Matthew, Barnett, McDonald, & O`Brien, 2010). Population growth will increase demand for a fixed supply of water. As such, more people will be exposed to water shortages, which will lead to the increased negative implications for people’s health, livelihoods, and security. To add onto this, the declining water availability due to global environmental changes will exacerbate this problem. Projections indicate that about 3.6 billion people will be living in areas with water scarcity by 2035 (Comín, 2010). In the developing world, scarce water resources will contribute to disease, malnutrition, and poor general health for youth and women. Eventually, as human beings continue to engage in activities that add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, weather patterns are predicted to change to make less water available.

3. Describe the socio-economic impacts of coral reef decline

Coral reefs are economically valuable ecosystems. They are a source of food, and they offer a habitat for important fish species and provide income to local economies from tourism. Wilkinson (2012) states that their decline will likely affect approximately 500 million people who depend on them for food, building materials, and income. A report by Bowen (2015) indicates that 20% of the coral reefs are under threat of loss in the next 30-40 years. Therefore, their decline will have a huge impact on the ecosystem services that human beings rely on for their sustenance. It is evident that the decline of coral reefs is increasingly being associated with the immediate loss of their aesthetic appeal for tourist attraction. According to Guderian (2012), many tropical island communities depend on the coral reefs for their cultural values such as those associated with religion and traditional use of the marine resources. However, their decline will have a huge socio-economic impact on these communities.

4. Given the material presented in the course to date, what do you feel is the most significant impact of global environmental change?

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Human health stands out as the most critical impact of global environmental change. The global environmental hazards associated with human health include the loss of biodiversity, changes in the supplies of fresh water, and land degradation. Global environmental change threatens human health in many ways, including impacts from extreme weather patterns, decreased air quality, and illnesses transmitted by water and other disease carriers (Webersik, 2010). Some of the direct health impacts include exposure to ultraviolet radiation, pollutants, and landslides. Extensive research indicates that increases in global temperatures could lead to increases in overall premature deaths associated with pollution and the worsened ozone layer (Fournier, 2011). It is predicted that by 2050, there will be at least 1000 to 4300 additional premature deaths as a result of ozone and particle health impacts (Matthew, Barnett, McDonald, & O`Brien, 2010). That means that cases related to asthma are also likely to increase. Evidently, the most significant impact of environmental change is on human health.

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