by Hannah Linehan
Lions, tigers, bears, and humans, oh my! Global climate change has begun to take its toll on animals and humans alike as the extreme weather experienced calls for adaptation and adjustments for all - and a bigger demand for insect repellent.
For humans to make genetic adaptations to climate change would take numerous generations and reproductive cycles. In the meantime, adjustments can be made such as adding clothes in the cold, or adding a fan in the heat, or repellent to keep disease-carrying insects away.
“Humans don’t reproduce fast enough to adapt to the climate changes quickly; we will adjust, not adapt,” said Rachel Portinga, a professor of Biology at the University Wisconsin- Superior. Heat will continue to increase on our planet, as will the frequency and intensity, Portinga predicted.
According to the website of Physicians for Social Responsibility (psr.org), heat rash, cramps, exhaustion, and stroke will become a more prevalent issue if temperatures continue to rise. As for now, the best humans can do to adapt and adjust to the weather, is to change our behaviors, not our physical bodies.
The extreme weather and climate changes will not only affect the human body directly, but the spread of viruses and diseases that will affect our bodies as well. A major concern in the science world today is the spread of diseases through carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks. A warmer weather pattern leads to a longer season for mosquitoes, ticks, and the diseases they carry. Mosquitoes thrive in the heat, so with rising temperature, and a longer mosquito season, thus spreading West Nile virus and Dengue fever, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (nrdc.org).
Deer ticks are known to carry Lyme’s disease. “With expanded summers and bigger geographical areas experiencing these summers, infected ticks have spread Lyme’s disease to more people,” said Bailey Henderson, a senior UW-Superior biology major.
Increasing temperatures and climate changes are posing threats to human health. Although our bodies are unable to physically adapt overnight, humans are able to make adjustments to help their bodies acclimate to the changing weather for now.