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Climate Change Causes Increases In Deaths Of Despair Among Blue Collar!

The leading cause of death for low income white Americans in rural areas where blue collar jobs are disappearing!

Seventeen studies since 2018 have concluded in overall findings that a significant and progressive increase in deaths of white males under the age of fifty is attributable to suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol-related liver disease in the USA in the last two decades. Although these deaths in connection with opioid addictions, climate and economic hardships affected different subpopulations, like African American, and Hispanic populations, it was most impactful and significant among blue collar-whites who were impacted at five times the rate as other populations. Low socioeconomic position and education levels and working in jobs with high insecurity, unemployment, and living in rural areas were identified as the most relevant social determinants.

A twenty year study in the US completed in 2023 revealed, a final estimate of 166,000 total deaths per year attributable to climate change and stands out as the first, and so far, only, estimate of its kind. What is the cost of inaction? Using the McMichael estimate, climate change is annually killing nearly as many people as the population of Geneva. The cumulative death toll from climate change since 2000 will most likely pass 5-6 million in 2024 — more than the population of Los Angeles or Berlin. Vanishingly few of these deaths will have been recognized by the victims’ families, or acknowledged by national governments, as the consequence of climate change.

More than half of those deaths will have been in Western countries and not related to malaria and other diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa or tropical Asia which has been almost wiped out. Instead most of the deaths are presumed to be the elderly and young children under 7 who are the most vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. Many or most of these deaths were preventable, resulting from two overlapping policy failures for which high-income countries and bear most of the blame: the failure to eliminate fossil fuels; and the failure to make high-quality clinical care, essential medicines, climate education of wet bulb events, education around high UV safety, and the other components of climate change adaptation available to populations facing unprecedented and unknown health risks.

Unabated climate change will cause 3.5 million deaths per year for every 1 degree of temperature rise if we continue on our present course we will see a 4 degree rise by 2060 and much more by the end of the Century, new data presented to COP27 today shows. Health-related deaths of the over-65s will increase by 1,540%, and in India alone there will be 2-3 million additional heat-related deaths by 2060, if no action to limit warming is taken, the data shows. According to the World Meteorological Organization, weather, climate and water-related hazards caused close to 12,000 disasters between 1970 and 2021. Global heat deaths are projected to increase by 370% if action is not taken to limit the effects of global warming, many people are complacent because their governments tell them these deaths will only occur in the poorest nations but nothing could be further from the truth.

The poor nations are aware of the dangers it is the nations unwilling to pay attention that will see the brunt of climate change take them unawares. If average global temperatures reach 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — as is expected because of wealthy nations refusing to take action — an additional 525 million people are also expected to experience food insecurity and we are not talking about countries already dealing with this issue, we are talking about the global risk of malnutrition in every nation. Populations who are land-vulnerable like farming communities of rural America or mining communities (dependent upon land and natural resources for livelihood) are particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change. The impacts and threats to livelihood lead to significant mental health consequences including anxiety, alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, hopelessness and suicide.

Here are some tactics that can help you develop healthy coping skills around climate change.

Focus on what you can control. Climate change is a complex issue. ...

Avoid overload. ... Hyper-religiosity a symptom of stress overload is characterized by an increased tendency to report supernatural or mystical experiences, spiritual delusions, rigid legalistic thoughts, and extravagant expression of piety. Hyper-religiosity may also include religious hallucinations that tell one to harm others or themselves.

Practice compassion. ... We investigated the existence of a racial bias in the emotional reaction to other people's pain and its link with implicit racist biases. racism narrows our views and serves to block all forms of empathy. A previous study has examined empathy in relation to suicidal behavior, and found that older adults with current or past suicide attempts had lower empathic perception, or a dampened behavioral empathy, compared to healthy people and depressed non-suicidal patients.

Take a break from climate news. ...more and more we see news about extreme weather events, droughts, water scarcity, wildfires, and flooding and their impacts on agriculture and human systems. The impact of these events on health and mental health is becoming clear. The air pollution and higher temperatures that come with rising greenhouse gases significantly increase the risk of neurological and psychiatric problems like strokes and dementia. Changes in the supply and nutritional content of food contribute to psychiatric illness, and changes in infectious disease patterns are exposing more people to the neuropsychiatric consequences of encephalitis.

Remember that you're not alone.

Talk to someone about how you're feeling. There are some difficult emotions that white people experience as a result of living in a racist society. These feelings are: fear, hatred, amnesia, anesthesia, indifference, denial, guilt, shame, loneliness, and hopelessness. And there are feelings that are related to racism we are required to repress like anger, grief, and sadness. These are feelings that many white people have in the context of a society based on race and rooted in systemic racism. You can't fix a problem until you acknowledge its existence.


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