Climate Change and Human Health Scenario in South and Southeast Asia

Type Book Section - Climate Change and Its Vulnerability for the Elderly in India
Title Climate Change and Human Health Scenario in South and Southeast Asia
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Publisher Springer
It is amply clear that the two major global drivers of change in the twenty-first century – global warming and population aging – will have points of both convergence and conflict. From the experiences of the developed countries that have experienced them first, we have realized that these phenomena will operate within different frameworks and need to be addressed at various levels, magnitudes, densities, structures, and functions. In the Southeast Asian countries, capital cities like Mumbai have populations above five million and are still growing. Urbanization in Asia is happening at a much higher rate (1.31 % annual average growth rate) than the world average (0.83 % annual average growth rate). Moreover, urbanization and globalization are two processes that catalyzed climate change and brought in further social complications besides the phenomenon of population aging. A large number of elderly now inhabit cities, while their financial and social supports are dwindling. They would soon face serious implications due to the rising rate of urbanization, their growing proximity to the coast that increases their vulnerability to weather/climate risks, and the solutions to which are energy driven (automobiles, elevators, air-conditioning). As climate change poses health, social, and economic risks for the elderly, the discussion on population aging vis-à-vis climate change will focus on ensuring and promoting health and quality of life of the elderly by modifying their built or external environments along with taking up psychosocial interventions. It is thus essential that the governments be open to respond flexibly to these synchronous challenges. In order to gain an understanding about the effects of climate change on the elderly in context of their rising numbers and urbanization, to identify/map the risks or costs involved, to identify possible interventions, to discuss policy support, and to estimate the opportunities and challenges that may arise, efforts for generating knowledge through research in this emerging field are imminent. Following this vein, the current paper contextualizes Mumbai City located in India and its older population, in an attempt to understand the possible impacts of climate change on them. It also cites few ways of influencing policy making through their inclusion in the discussion and evolving strategies that will come to aid.

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