In a previous column, I wrote about how I believe it is likely for a medical breakthrough to happen by the time I am old enough to have symptoms. I need to add a caveat to that statement: It is only true if there are people doing the research needed to find a cure. It is unlikely a treatment will be available if our planet is on fire or underwater.
The damage that society, especially corporations, has done to the environment is affecting everyone. The sea is rising, heat waves are getting longer, and the weather is becoming more extreme.
Even the cost of beer could be affected.
The World Health Organization has classified global warming as the “greatest threat to global health in the 21st century.” It is estimated that from 2030 to 2050, climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress.
But slightly more important than the trouble we are facing are the difficulties that the next generation will experience. On Sept. 20, students around the world left school and took to the streets to protest climate change. A few days later, Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden, gave a scathing speech to the United Nations addressing climate change. Her goal was to motivate leaders to do something about the crisis.
The Huntington’s community should follow the lead of these young people. If we do not do something about this crisis, we cannot guarantee that there will be anyone left to discover a cure.
Everyone can take small steps to help reduce their carbon footprint. This includes buying energy-efficient appliances (plus it will save you money over time), reducing beef consumption, and taking public transportation.
The most important thing everyone can do is contact their government representative. We can reduce our own footprint, but we need to attack climate change on a broader scale. Fossil fuel companies are responsible for an enormous percentage of carbon emissions. Better regulation is the only way to get them to reduce their carbon footprint.
It is imperative that we address this issue head-on. It should not be a divisive political issue. It is a fact.
If we want a cure, we need a planet. If we want a planet, we must protect it. And we must begin to address the damage we’ve caused.
Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.