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Climate Change and Its Effect

By bimskiemai Oct 13, 2012 2869 Words
Theoretical Background
This study is anchored on Brian Hills’ Dynamic Awareness Theory.Awareness (or lack of it) is an important property of people’s epistemic states at particular moments, with significant consequences for the decisionsthey make, their actions, and their behavior in situations of interaction (Hill, 2007). Awareness is a state of understanding about certain situations, events, phenomenon, in which people are mindful or knowledgeable enough to perceive such occurrence.A person’s awareness is not a static state which can be arbitrarily turned on and off. It is rather a slow build-up of information about his surroundings. It develops gradually over time, meaning different levels of awareness can exist(Kai Riemer, Russel Haines, 2008). Climate change is a significant and emerging threat to public health, economics, tourism, and agriculture, and changes the way we must look at protecting vulnerable populations. Another theoryanchored in this study is the theory of Florence Nightingale “Environmental Model”.In Nightingale’s theory, her main focus is the control of the environment of individuals and families, both healthy and ill. She believes that the environment was the major component creating illness in a patient; she regards disease as “the reactions of kindly nature against the conditions in which we have placed ourselves”. There are several effects of climate change that affects the environment. First are the effects on health.

Climate change endangers human health, affecting all sectors of society, both domestically and globally. The environmental consequences of climate change, both those already observed and those that are anticipated, such as sea-level rise, changes in precipitation resulting in flooding and drought, heat waves, more intense hurricanes and storms, and degraded air quality, will affect human health both directly and indirectly. Addressing the effects of climate change on human health is especially challenging because both the surrounding environment and the decisions that people make influence health. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) concluded “Human beings are exposed to climate change through changing weather patterns (for example, more intense and frequent extreme events) and indirectly through changes in water, air, food quality and quantity, ecosystems, agriculture, and economy. At this early stage the effects are small but are projected to progressively increase in all countries and regions.” (http://epa.gov/climatechange/effects/health.html). According to Miller (1978) the system must interact and adjust to its environment. Thereby if the environment will be altered such as events like climate change then our health may also be affected. Also the manipulation of the physical environment is a major component in nursing care. And any changes or imbalanced made by these major areas of the environment in which the nurse can control have great impact on the equilibrium of the system thus making the nurse to exert more effort to balance the damaged system.

When health is seen as pattern of the whole, disease becomes an emergent pattern that can be understood in terms of a pattern of energy (Newman, 1994a). Seeing disease as a manifestation of pattern can help people become aware of their pattern of person-environment interaction. Also, in Henderson’s Metaparadigm in nursing focusing on Health and Environment viewed health as the quality of life and is very basic for a person to function fully. Therefore, it is important for a health individual to control the environment, but as illness occurs this ability is diminished or affected (McEwen, et. Al 2007). Second are the effects on economics.Vulnerability to climate change will mainly depend on economic position and infrastructure capacity of nations. Climate change effects will impose significant additional stress on ecological and socioeconomic systems, but currently these systems are burdened by pollution, natural resource scarcities and other unsustainable practices. Economically and ecologically important coastal ecosystems are significantly damaged from climate change effects, such as sea level rise, changes in atmospheric temperature and variation in the rainfall patterns. Many valuable economic and ecological functions including tourism, fisheries, storm and flood water protection and biodiversity would be threatened by climate change. In developing countries, climate change is an additional burden because ecological and socioeconomic systems are already facing pressures from rapid population, industrialization and economic development. They are mostly affected by climate change, because they are not having enough and sound technologies or scientific development to deal with this impact. The greatest impacts of climate change on many aquatic ecosystems would be the exacerbation of already existing stresses resulting from human activity. Climate change will affect biological, biogeochemical and hydrological functions of wetlands. An increasing our temperature could affect the wetland by thawing permafrost, which is crucial for maintaining the water table in ecosystem. The impact of climate change on water resources will affect human well-being to various digress, depending on how country-specific water management methods can accommodate such change. Developed countries with better water management system will be dealing with consequence of climate change, at the same time poorer countries are more dependent on seasonal rain fall will be more vulnerable. In generally irrigation is the first activity to be significantly affected in many countries due to the water shortage. Third are the effects on tourism. Tourism as an industry is increasing in both volume and economic importance. Several places, that only a few years ago were inaccessible, are now becoming very popular holiday destinations. However, the ecosystems of many of these resorts are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Tourism is closely linked with the natural environment. Climate affects a wide range of the environmental resources that are critical attractions for tourism, such as wildlife productivity and biodiversity, water levels and quality. Climate also has an important influence on environmental conditions than can deter tourists, including infectious disease, bushfires, insect and water-borne pests and extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones. Tourism will continue to grow, but the patterns of travel will change – some destinations will benefit and others will be impacted negatively. Extreme weather events such as cyclones and storm surges can significantly impact infrastructure such as buildings and roads which can affect tourism access. Road maintenance becomes particularly difficult and expensive during prolonged heavy rains. Incidents of extreme heavy rains, such as the 1997/1998 El Niño rains, leave park roads impassable for long periods of time, and result in reduced tourist visits and loss of revenue. Events such as these have flow on effects for everyone. They increase the threat to visitor safety, there are costs involved with evacuation of visitors, tourism businesses lose revenue from booking cancellations, infrastructure is damaged, and the cost of insurance increases for businesses directly impacted by these extreme weather events (D. Viner and M. Agnew, 1999). Fourth are the effects on agriculture.Life cycle of grain and oilseed crops will likely progress more rapidly but with rising temperatures and variable rainfall, crops will begin to experiencefailure, especially if precipitation lessens or becomes more variable. Climate change is leading to a northward migration of cropland weeds, and range and pasture plant species, which affects crops, grazing land, and livestock operations. Higher temperatures will very likely reduce livestock production during the summer season; ruminants may be particularly affected because generally shelter is not provided to buffer the adverse effects of changing climate. Climate change affects average temperatures and temperature extremes; timing and geographical patterns of precipitation; snowmelt, runoff, evaporation, and soil moisture; the frequency of disturbances such as drought, insect and disease outbreaks, severe storms and forest fires; atmospheric composition and air quality; and patterns of human settlement and land use change. It likely increased the size and number of forest fires, insect outbreaks and tree mortality in the Interior West (Colorado, the Great Basin), Southwest and Alaska.In arid lands, changes in temperature and precipitation will very likely decrease the vegetation cover that protects the ground surface from wind and erosion.Rising CO2 will very likely increase photosynthesis for forests, but this increase will likely only enhance wood production in young forests on fertile soils. A suite of climate simulations shows that the United States may experience increased runoff in eastern regions, gradually transitioning to little change in the Missouri and lower Mississippi, to substantial decreases in annual runoff in the interior of the west (Colorado and Great Basin).Stream temperatures are likely to increase as the climate warms, which will impact aquatic ecosystems both directly and indirectly. There is a trend toward reduced mountain snowpack and earlier spring snowmelt runoff peaks across much of the western United States.Earlier spring onset, lengthening of the growing season, and net primary productivity increase are noticeable in the higher latitudes of North America. The rapid rate of warming in the Arctic observed in recent decades – and projected to continue for at least the next century – is dramatically reducing snow and ice cover that provide dining and forage habitat for polar bears.Corals in many tropical regions are experiencing substantial mortality from increasing water temperatures, increasing storm intensity, and a reduction in pH. This research is also anchored in the Philippine’s Environmental Policy which is enunciated in Presidential Decree No. 1151 (1977), declares that it is the continuing policy of the state to ensure the attainment of an environmental quality that is conducive to a life of dignity and well- being. The decree also established the environmental impact assessment system, which significantly affects the quality of the environment. Proclamation No. 2146, issued on 14th December 1981, identified three types of environmentally critical projects, namely: 1.) Heavy Industries (non-ferrous metal industries, iron and steel mills, petroleum and petro-chemical industries, including oil and gas, smelting plants); 2.) Resource Extractive Industries (major mining and quarry projects, fishery projects- dikes and fishpond development projects, forestry products- logging, forest occupancy, major wood processing projects); 3.) Infrastructure Projects (major dams, major power plants, major reclamation projects, major road and bridges). The research work is also anchored on Presidential Decree No. 1151 (1997), The Philippines Environmental Policy in which one of its declaration is that it is the continuing policy of the state to ensure the attainment of an environmental quality that is conducive to a life of dignity and well-being. Presidential Decree No. 1152 (1977), or the Philippine Environment Code, deals with the environment in its totality with the establishment of management policies and quality standards for: air quality; water quality management; land-use management; natural resources management and conservation; conservation and utilization of surface and ground waters; and waste management. Programmes to reduce and/or mitigate greenhouse gas emissions such as Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations are implemented in which tackles on: Eight waste-to-energy projects in the Philippines; emission reduction: about 253,919 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year; Philippines is ranked eighth in the world in terms of number of CDM projects accepted by the United Nations; 32 CDM projects submitted to Department of Environment and Natural Resources, e.g. waste to energy, renewable energy (wind, geothermal and hydro), cogeneration, composting. Laws concerning pollution control such as Republic Act 3931, “An Act Creating the National Water and Air Pollution Control Commission’ provided the basis for air quality management when it declared a national policy to maintain reasonable standards for purity for the water and the atmospheric air vis-à-vis their utilization for domestic, agricultural, industrial and other legitimate uses in which the primary thrust of this policy is the prevention and control of industrial pollution is also the basis of these study. And the said law was revised by PD 984 (1976) to elaborate and include the control of land pollution and all other kinds of pollution and environmental disturbance such as noise and odor on the aforementioned law. Tasked to implement emission standards from motor vehicles and to deputized appropriate agency to do the duty, the Land Transportation Office by Presidential Decree 1181 (1977), provides for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution from motor vehicles and for other purpose. The idea was for the NPCC to be the national standard setting agency and the Land Transportation office to be the enforcement arm in so far as motor vehicles were concerned so as not to diffuse the functions of the former to police industrial pollution, which is already a major activity.

Republic Act No. 8749 (1999), otherwise known as the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 sets forth as the state’s policy to: (a) protect and advance the right of people to a balanced and healthy ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature; (b) attain and maintain a balance between development and environmental protection; and (c) maintain a quality of air that protects human health and welfare. Its implementing rules lay down the powers and functions of the DENR, Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Energy (DE) and all other concerned agencies, the rights and obligations of stakeholders and the rights and duties of the people with respect to the Air Quality Management and Control Program. Finally, the Rules provide for various kinds of fines and penalties for the three (3) categories of violations of the provisions of the Clean Air Act (1)Violation of Standards for Stationary Sources; (2) Violation of Standards for Motor Vehicles; (3) Violations of Other Provisions of the Clean Air Act, which range from a maximum of One Hundred Thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or ten (10) years imprisonment to a minimum of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) or six (6) months and one (1) day imprisonment. Presidential Decree 984 or the National Pollution Control Decree prohibits the throwing, running, draining or otherwise disposing into any of the water, air and/or land resources any organic or inorganic matter or any substance in gaseous or liquid form that shall cause pollution thereof. No person shall likewise perform any of the following activities without first securing a permit for the discharge of industrial wastes and other wastes which could cause pollution: (i) the construction, installation, modification or operation of any sewage works or extensions thereof; (ii) the increase in volume of wastes in excess of the permitted discharge under the existing permit; and (iii) the construction or operation of any industrial/commercial establishment which would cause an increase in the discharge of wastes directly into the water, air and/or land resources of the Philippines or would otherwise alter their physical, chemical or biological properties in any manner not already lawfully authorized. In 1974, Presidential Decree 600, also known as the Marine Pollution Decree, was issued giving the Philippine Coast Guard the responsibility for preventing, containing and controlling pollution of the seas and other bodies of water within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines. Collaterally, Presidential Decree 602 (1874) was promulgated creating the National Operation Center for Oil Pollution (NOCOP) in the Philippine Coast Guard in order to enforce the provisions of Presidential Decree 600 (1974) and further designating the NOCOP as the contact agency of similar agencies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for assistance in cases of major oil spills in the region. A number of Philippine laws cover Waste Management. One of the earliest is the Commonwealth Act 383 (1938) which prohibits the dumping into any river of refuse, waste matter or substances that may cause an elevation of the river beds, or block the course of streams and considers the unlawful act as a misdemeanor. For the purpose of protecting fish and other aquatic resources. R.A. No. 9637: Biofuel Act in which a Mandatory mixing in the following amount: 1% biodiesel in Petrodiesel, 5% ethanol in gasoline for first four years and 2% biodiesel in Petrodiesel, 10% ethanol in gasoline after four years; Shift in energy mix from fossil fuels (oil and coal) to renewable sources [ Present mix: fossil fuels (58.4%), renewable sources (41.6%)]. Target: fossil fuels (49.2%), renewable sources (50.8%) by 2014; Passed on January 26, 2001, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. It defined Solid Waste as referring to all discarded households, commercial waste, non-hazardous, institutional and industrial waste, street sweepings, construction debris, agricultural waste and other hazardous/non-toxic solid waste. While laws like the one mentioned earlier were made to regulate pollution control these still a lot to do to make the implementation worth abiding to reduce the effect of climate change. This therefore, is the aim of the study to at least enlighten the minds of the respondents/people of what he can do to save this world from the devastating effect of climate change. Adaptive strategies intended to protect public health will be needed whether or not actions are taken to mitigate climate change. Building capacity is an essential preparatory step. Adapting to climate change will require more than financial resources, technology, and public health infrastructure. Education, awareness-raising and the creation of legal frameworks, institutions and an environment that enables people to take well-informed, long-term, sustainable decisions are all needed. With climate change already underway, there is need to assess vulnerabilities and identify intervention/adaptation options. Early planning for health can reduce future adverse health impacts. The optimal solution, however, lies with governments, society and individuals – and requires changes in behaviour, technologies and practices to enable a transition to sustainability.

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