Health and Anthropology in the Era of Anthropogenic Climatic and Environmental Change

Authored by: Merrill Singer

The Routledge Companion to Contemporary Anthropology

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415583954
eBook ISBN: 9781315743950
Adobe ISBN: 9781317590675


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Global climate and other systemic environmental changes are emerging as primary contributors to the most perilous health concerns of the 21st century (Costello et al 2009). From the ominous rise of ocean levels that threaten low-lying island and coast communities to the global spread of disease vectors to new environments, and from notable increases in violent storms to upsurges in the frequency and size of wildfires, many of the changes occurring on Earth reflect a steady trend of planetary warming. While some commentators, most consistently those with conservative political views, have questioned the certainty of global warming, McCarty (2001:396) notes that, “Perhaps the strongest support for the role of climate change comes from the remarkable consistency in the types and magnitude of changes observed across multiple studies.” McCarty is referring here to studies produced by a wide array of disciplines which demonstrate an extraordinary level of cross-disciplinary teamwork. Consistently, as seen by the fact that no scientific body of national or international standing has embraced an alternative perspective, there is agreement across disciplines, research methods, and research topics that Earth is warming at a sufficient rate to be a cause of grave public concern.

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