Recently, record high global average temperatures have been observed almost every year, and natural disasters have become serious catastrophes. It is said that the climate crisis affects not only the ecosystem, but also our mental health. Let’s find out what climate depression is all about. .................................Ed
There is a serious abnormal climate phenomenon around the world. Some countries are experiencing opposite abnormalities within their own territories. South Korea also faced similar difficulties. Furthermore, the United States and many European countries are suffering from the worst heatwaves ever, while Japan has suffered from severe landslides caused by heavy rain. Although abnormal weather conditions seem to be concentrated only in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere was having a relatively warm winter.
There was a record-breaking flood in China, which trapped many people in the subway and cost many casualties. This was only three days after heavy rain poured into Western Europe, including Germany and Belgium, for the first time in 100 years. In Germany and in Belgium, deaths due to flooding also occurred. Experts pointed out that the government should realize that disasters caused by climate change are difficult to respond to with the existing infrastructure. In the eastern and western parts of the United States, the opposite abnormal weather phenomenon occurred. In New York, the city was flooded due to typhoons and heavy rains. A great deal of rain hit the station within a short period of time, causing flooding. In California, however, the worst heatwave caused forest damage, which led to the decision to close the forest. The abnormal heatwave, including one that hit California, has put forest fires on alert throughout the western United States. Other than that, record heatwaves have also caused deaths in Canada, and, in particular, Russia has been hit hard by heatwaves for the first time in 120 years. Meteorologists say the record-breaking heatwave in the Northern Hemisphere is due to the ‘hear dome.’ The heat dome is a phenomenon in which high pressure stagnates in a particular area, and traps hot air in the shape of a dome.
High pressure developed in the air acts as a lid, pressing the air to the ground, and as hot air builds up continuously, temperature rises by more than 5 to 10 degrees in celsius. Moreover, floods can also be caused by the heat dome phenomenon. The Global Journal of Geophysical Research Letters warned that as climate change warms the atmosphere, there will be more moisture and more rain. Also, islands were holding still and the low pressure stopped moving, causing heavy rain. Climatologists point to the weakening of jet streams caused by global warming as one of the causes of frequent heat domes. A jet stream acts as a mixture of cold and hot air. However, as global warming weakens the jet stream, the heat dome intensifies. Various indicators support this, such as a sharp temperature rise in the Arctic area.
If the climate crisis worsens, our daily lives and related health problems will also affect actual industrial production. Taiwan issued a red warning for water supply this year due to the worst drought in decades. Around the same time, California was experiencing a drought, getting only half of the precipitation as usual. The global drought affected the semiconductor industry. Semiconductors are at risk of being defective if they get exposed to a little bit of dust, so washing the surface with extremely pure water is essential. Therefore, the shortage of water had a significant impact on semiconductor production because each plant must use dozens of tons of water per day to produce semiconductors. This has led to a shortage of semiconductors, which affected domestic electric vehicle production beyond the U.S., Europe, and Japan, and has had a huge impact on the domestic economy as well.
Moreover, the climate crisis affects human mental health. In case of disasters due to climate change, it affects one’s life directly, and promotes psychological pain like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and depression. However, as climate extremes have increased uncertainty about the future, people have complained of chronic sadness, distress, pain, and fear over threats of natural disasters and environmental changes. In 2017, the APA (American Psychological Association) defined these phenomena as ‘climate grief’ and ‘eco-anxiety.’ Citing a famous case, Greta Thunberg, who is known as a teenage environmental activist, watched a video about the disaster due to climate change, and then she became depressed and didn’t eat anything. Another case is that of American marine biologist Steve Simpson, who suffered because of a dying coral that caused the whitening phenomenon in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
Then, what should we do to prevent a climate crisis? In our daily lives, we can use tumblers instead of disposable cups when we drink beverages, and ride bicycles or use public transportation more than private cars, and minimize the use of heating and cooling devices. The government and businesses should also exert efforts to deal with the problems caused by the climate crisis. The National Assembly’s Environment and Labor Committee held a public hearing to prepare a bill to find solutions to the climate crisis. The government must continue to discuss and propose policies related to environmental protection. Businesses should develop ventures that can coexist with the environment, and actively create jobs related to it. Actually, many entities are interested in renewable energy. Eventually, many efforts will slow down and block abnormal climate phenomenon.
There is an international movement to solve the climate crisis, such as the UN SDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) and the Paris Agreement. As trends paying attention to the seriousness of climate change emerge, international cooperation will continue to increase. There are many cases of extreme climate phenomena anywhere. So, experts warn that disasters from climate change are not far from us, and we must recognize them as current problems. We have to have an interest in the climate crisis, and try to solve problems pertaining to climate change for sustainability in the future.
Kim A-yeong (Web Editor)
Jeon Min-young (ST Cub-Reporter)