The rapid increase in climate change continues to offer up more negatives. Examples include changing normal weather patterns and fueling stronger hurricanes. Now it could be the cause of an increase in pathogens that have been trapped in ice, according to recent studies.
Last August, an anthrax outbreak decimated the animals and inhabitants of a small location in Siberia. Thousands of reindeer died from the disease, and it was them that spread it into civilization. Most people were affected, with 20 needing to be hospitalized, and one casualty of a 12-year-old boy.
A link to global warming was made when the outbreak was traced back to what was permafrost in the location. The disease was contained in frozen soil due to the rotting of an infected animal. Inside permafrost, any kind of bacteria, virus, fungus, and other types of nastiness can thrive.
Biologist Jean-Michel Claverie explained to BBC Earth how this was the case, saying, "Permafrost is a very good preserver of microbes and viruses, because it is cold, there is no oxygen, and it is dark...Pathogenic viruses that can infect humans or animals might be preserved in old permafrost layers, including some that have caused global epidemics in the past."
An area in Siberia isn’t the only place where these microorganisms are held at. There’s growing worry that an increase in global temperature will melt permafrost at a rapid rate, which can cause an outbreak among unsuspecting people. Other outbreaks in history have been buried with the dead in the frozen tundra and it wouldn’t take them long to spread when the ice melts.
For example, viruses from the 1918 Spanish flu were located in Alaska. Other bacteria in Antarctica that was well over 100,000 years old appeared in glaciers. Some bacteria that could be as old as 50,000 years was found in crystals located in Mexico this February. This creates another issue when it comes to exposing these old diseases. Not only is global warming creating this issue, but any type of mining in remote areas that contains permafrost can also trigger the organisms to come out.
Scientists also bring up that our immune systems may not be ready to block off these dangers. As generations go on, the human body’s defense grows weaker to diseases that it doesn’t see. For example, common colds can generally go untreated and they will still be gone within days. But for outbreaks that happened centuries ago, it could become a serious issue, especially with the unlikelihood that there would be treatments available.
While it’s scary to think that an outbreak can happen at any time, people don’t have to live in fear. In fact, most of it is very unknown and not all of it is equal. Scientists but it had no effect on humans. Some argue that diseases located in warmer climates can migrate to northern areas as the globe heats up, and that could be a bigger short-term issue than the dangers of permafrost melting. Regardless, it’s more evidence that shows why climate change is a serious issue that can affect more than just weather.
Joining tech giants that have committed to 100 percent renewable energy, Lyft will be investing millions into various sustainable projects to make all of their rides carbon neutral.
Based on a survey from New York City's Health Department, the city has seen drops in greenhouse gas emissions and the air quality is as clean as it's been since monitoring it back in 2008. It's all part of Mayor de Blasio's sustainable efforts from 2015.
We want your original, reported stories on sustainability.
The UK's National Grid announced that no London power stations used coal for energy production for a span of 55 hours from late Monday into early Thursday morning. It beats the old record of just over 40 hours from last October, and wind power levels continue to impress.