The parable of Mother’s climacterial change-A A +A
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
THIS lady is aging, well into climacterium. Her ovaries, our natural resources, are sapped. No more estrogen and progesterone. No more materials from her for our consumption or greed. Her climacterial change translates to climate change for us, her children. She’s just unpredictable. Her temper boils and roasts us with intense temperatures. Hot flashes, we say. Then she turns cold and clammy after the hotness. Cold spells at night and typhoons pummel us in the heat and height of summer.
Then she urinates more often, with tissues depleted and muscle control less with aging. The floods come galloping to our communities. The water horses dash with mud, silt from erosions, chemicals, and our garbage. Flash floods and water monsters.
Osteoporosis and bone weakness consume her. Earth is porous and brittle, crumbling with earthquakes. Oh painful she wails. Plates collide, bone hits bone. This is a worst of pain.
Dryness is all over her. Sex has become painful. Bearing and rearing children in this present world is equally painful if the future of generations appears bleak.
She exhibits mood changes. Suddenly she colonizes herself and her children with depression after series of stressful life events, many are disasters. Many are attributable to death, disease, agony and shock.
Symptoms of climacterial change, of menopause. Signs of climate change. Hot flashes. Flash floods. More lightning flashes. Things happen in a flash.
Our health is threatened, now more than ever. I discuss here some concepts: climate, how it affects human health, and the adaptive capacity of communities.
Climate is the average weather of a particular area that prevails over a particular period of, for instance, over a month, one season, a year, or even several years. Climate is characterized by a number of elements but the three most important are temperature, humidity and rainfall.
Temperature refers to the degree of hotness and coldness of the atmosphere. Humidity is the moisture content of the atmosphere while rainfall is the amount of precipitation in liquid form falling over a specific area (PIDS, 2005).
The World Health Organization emphasizes that assessing health impacts requires more than merely predicting future incidence of specific diseases. Deleterious effects of altered climate on the foundations of public health need to be considered in addition to changes in specific diseases (UNEP/IVM, 1998).
The impacts on human health can be divided into direct and indirect effects. The former encompasses the direct impact on human biology, while the latter impacts human biology via another climate variable or parameter. There are five possible pathways through which climate change can impact human health: 1) temperature-related morbidity and mortality, 2) health effects associated with air pollution, 3) effects of extreme weather events on population health, 4) water and food-borne diseases, and 5) vector borne diseases (Henry, 2002).
Both direct and indirect effects of climate change on human health may be described in terms of morbidity and mortality due to causes identified as climate-related. Morbidity or having the disease and mortality or death provides a quantitative determination of health impact. The prevalence, or how much of a disease or condition there is in a population at a particular point in time, and the incidence, which measures the rate of occurrence of new cases of a disease or condition, of climate-sensitive conditions may show patterns of diseases dependent too on changes in climate.
Adaptive capacity describes the general ability of institutions, systems and individuals to adjust to potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities and to cope with consequences. In health terms, coping capacity is a measure of what could be implemented now to minimize the negative health impacts of climate change that may arise in the future and maximize any positives that may occur (Department of Health, 2008). It is wise to be prepared as this climate change is a period of unpredictability.
In medical terms, Mother Nature is having a climacterial change - her menopause is imminent. We should infuse hormones of more care, mitigation, and love into this woman. Otherwise, she’ll forget that she cares for us as her children. For her, Alzheimer’s is not a natural part of aging but a karmic consequence of our deeds.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 02, 2012.