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Special Issue "Human Adaptation to Climate Change"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Tristan Pearce
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Queensland, 4558, Australia; Department of Geography, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada
Interests: climate change impacts; vulnerability and adaptation; traditional knowledge; Inuit and Arctic studies; Pacific Island Region

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change is the “biggest global health threat of the 21st century”, a perspective supported by the US National Institutes of Health, two Lancet Commissions, and the Canadian, American, Australian, and British Medical Associations. One of the most acknowledged climate change threats is related to impacts on food systems, security, and safety. The World Health Organization estimates 250,000 deaths annually directly due to climate change by 2030, with over half attributable to food systems, security, and safety; and indirect impacts are projected to be significantly higher.

Given these challenges, communities and health systems will have to adapt. These responses may be reactive or anticipatory in relation to climate change impacts, range from building resilience to designing and implementing specific interventions to a known risk, and encompass actions at various scales from individuals and communities to governments and institutions. The importance of adaptation is increasingly being recognized among decision makers; however, few studies have examined opportunities for health adaptation intervention or evaluated how existing health policies and programs may affect vulnerability to future change. This Special Issue is open to any subject area related to adaptation to the health effects of climate change. The listed keywords suggest a few of the many possibilities.

Dr. Tristan Pearce
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Cumulative health impacts
  • Adaptation
  • Vulnerability
  • Resilience
  • Food security
  • Natural disaster
  • Traditional knowledge
  • Indigenous
  • Health intervention
  • Public health

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
The Water–Energy–Food Nexus as a Tool to Transform Rural Livelihoods and Well-Being in Southern Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2970; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16162970 - 18 Aug 2019
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 2483
Abstract
About 60% of southern Africa’s population lives in rural areas with limited access to basic services and amenities such as clean and safe water, affordable and clean energy, and balanced and nutritious diets. Resource scarcity has direct and indirect impacts on nutrition, human [...] Read more.
About 60% of southern Africa’s population lives in rural areas with limited access to basic services and amenities such as clean and safe water, affordable and clean energy, and balanced and nutritious diets. Resource scarcity has direct and indirect impacts on nutrition, human health, and well-being of mostly poor rural communities. Climate change impacts in the region are manifesting through low crop yields, upsurge of vector borne diseases (malaria and dengue fever), and water and food-borne diseases (cholera and diarrhoea). This study applied a water–energy–food (WEF) nexus analytical livelihoods model with complex systems understanding to assess rural livelihoods, health, and well-being in southern Africa, recommending tailor-made adaptation strategies for the region aimed at building resilient rural communities. The WEF nexus is a decision support tool that improves rural livelihoods through integrated resource distribution, planning, and management, and ensures inclusive socio-economic transformation and development, and addresses related sustainable development goals, particularly goals 2, 3, 6 and 7. The integrated WEF nexus index for the region was calculated at 0.145, which is marginally sustainable, and indicating the region’s exposure to vulnerabilities, and reveals a major reason why the region fails to meet its developmental targets. The integrated relationship among WEF resources in southern Africa shows an imbalance and uneven resource allocation, utilisation and distribution, which normally results from a ‘siloed’ approach in resource management. The WEF nexus provides better adaptation options, as it guides decision making processes by identifying priority areas needing intervention, enhancing synergies, and minimising trade-offs necessary for resilient rural communities. Our results identified (i) the trade-offs and unintended negative consequences for poor rural households’ livelihoods of current silo approaches, (ii) mechanisms for sustainably enhancing household water, energy and food security, whilst (iii) providing direction for achieving SDGs 2, 3, 6 and 7. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Article
Evaluation of the Impacts of a Phone Warning and Advising System for Individuals Vulnerable to Smog. Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial Study in Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1817; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16101817 - 22 May 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1508
Abstract
Smog warning systems are components of adaptation strategies that are adopted by governments around the world to protect their citizens from extreme episodes of air pollution. As part of a growing research stream on the effectiveness of these systems, this article presents the [...] Read more.
Smog warning systems are components of adaptation strategies that are adopted by governments around the world to protect their citizens from extreme episodes of air pollution. As part of a growing research stream on the effectiveness of these systems, this article presents the results of a study on the impacts of an automated phone warning and advising system for individuals vulnerable to air pollution. A sample of 1328 individuals were recruited and randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. The treatment group received smog warning while the control group did not. Data were collected via three phone surveys, two before and one after issuing the smog warning. The comparison between treatment and control groups indicates that exposure to a smog warning improved information on the occurrence of smog episodes (n = 484, OR = 5.58, p = 0.00), and knowledge on protective behaviors. Furthermore, members of treatment group were more likely to avoid exposure to smog episodes by spending more time inside with the windows closed than usual (n = 474, OR = 2.03, p = 0.00). Members of treatment group who take medication in the form of aerosol pumps also kept these devices on themselves more frequently than those of control group (n= 109, OR = 2.15, p = 0.03). The system however had no discernible effects on the awareness of air pollution risks, reduction of health symptoms related to smog and the use of health system services. The absence of health benefits could be related to the lower actual exposure to air pollution of such vulnerable groups during winter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Article
Analysis of Mortality Change Rate from Temperature in Summer by Age, Occupation, Household Type, and Chronic Diseases in 229 Korean Municipalities from 2007–2016
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(9), 1561; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16091561 - 04 May 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1410
Abstract
This study analyzed mortality change rate (MCR: daily change rate of mortality at a given temperature per average summer mortality) for 229 municipalities in Korea considering age, occupation, household type, chronic diseases, and regional temperature distribution. We found that the MCR for heat [...] Read more.
This study analyzed mortality change rate (MCR: daily change rate of mortality at a given temperature per average summer mortality) for 229 municipalities in Korea considering age, occupation, household type, chronic diseases, and regional temperature distribution. We found that the MCR for heat wave differs depending on socioeconomic factors and the temperature distribution in the region. The MCRs for the elderly (≥65 years of age), outdoor workers, one-person households, and chronic disease patients start to increase at lower temperatures and react more sensitively to temperature than others. For the socioeconomic factors considered in this study, occupation was found to be the most significant factor for the MCR differences (outdoor workers 1.17 and others 1.10 above 35 °C, p < 0.01). The MCRs of elderly outdoor workers increased consistently with temperature, while the MCRs of younger outdoor workers decreased at 33 °C, the heat wave warning level in Korea. The MCRs in lower temperature regions start to increase at 28 °C, whereas the MCRs start to increase at 30 °C in higher temperature regions. The results of this study suggest that heat wave policies should be based on contextualized impacts considering age, occupation, household type, chronic disease, and regional temperature distribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Article
Perception of Climate Change in Shrimp-Farming Communities in Bangladesh: A Critical Assessment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 672; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16040672 - 25 Feb 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1828
Abstract
Local contexts as well as levels of exposure play a substantial role in defining a community’s perception of climate and environmental vulnerabilities. In order to assess a community’s adaptation strategies, understanding of how different groups in that community comprehend climate change is crucial. [...] Read more.
Local contexts as well as levels of exposure play a substantial role in defining a community’s perception of climate and environmental vulnerabilities. In order to assess a community’s adaptation strategies, understanding of how different groups in that community comprehend climate change is crucial. Public risk perception is important as it can induce or confine political, economic, and social actions dealing with particular hazards. Climate change adaptation is a well-established policy discourse in Bangladesh that has made its people more or less aware of it. Similarly, shrimp-farming communities in southwestern Bangladesh understand environmental and climate change in their own ways. In order to understand how the shrimp-farming communities in coastal Bangladesh perceive current climate instabilities, we conducted a qualitative study in shrimp-farming villages in coastal Bangladesh where about 80% of commercial shrimp of the country is cultivated. We compared farmers’ perceptions of local climate change with existing scientific knowledge and found remarkable similarities. Our assessment shows that at least two factors are critical for this outcome: coastal people’s exposure to and experience of frequent climate extremes; and a radical approach to defining climate regimes in Bangladesh by various stakeholders and the media, depicting anthropogenic global warming as a certainty for the country. Thus, a convergence of scientific construct and sociocultural construct construes the level of awareness of the general public about climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Review

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Review
Associations between Green Building Design Strategies and Community Health Resilience to Extreme Heat Events: A Systematic Review of the Evidence
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 663; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16040663 - 24 Feb 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2350
Abstract
This project examined evidence linking green building design strategies with the potential to enhance community resilience to extreme heat events. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) method for a systematic review, it assessed the strength of the evidence [...] Read more.
This project examined evidence linking green building design strategies with the potential to enhance community resilience to extreme heat events. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) method for a systematic review, it assessed the strength of the evidence supporting the potential for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) credit requirements to reduce the adverse effects of extreme heat events and/or enhance a building’s passive survivability (i.e., the ability to continue to function during utility outages) during those events. The PRISMA Flow Diagram resulted in the selection of 12 LEED for New Construction (LEED NC) credits for inclusion in the review. Following a preliminary scan of evidence supporting public health co-benefits of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, queries were submitted in PubMed using National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings Terms. Queries identified links between LEED credit requirements and risk of exposure to extreme heat, environmental determinants of health, co-benefits to public health outcomes, and co-benefits to built environment outcomes. Public health co-benefits included reducing the risk of vulnerability to heat stress and reducing heat-related morbidity and mortality. The results lay the groundwork for collaboration across the public health, civil society, climate change, and green building sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Other

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Commentary
Factors Influencing the Mental Health Consequences of Climate Change in Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(9), 1583; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16091583 - 06 May 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 5779
Abstract
Climate change is increasing risks to the mental health of Canadians. Impacts from a changing climate may outstrip the ability of Canadians and their health-sustaining institutions to adapt effectively and could increase poor mental health outcomes, particularly amongst those most marginalized in society. [...] Read more.
Climate change is increasing risks to the mental health of Canadians. Impacts from a changing climate may outstrip the ability of Canadians and their health-sustaining institutions to adapt effectively and could increase poor mental health outcomes, particularly amongst those most marginalized in society. A scoping review of literature published during 2000–2017 explored risks, impacts, and vulnerabilities related to climate change and mental health. In this commentary, the authors present a new assessment of evidence from this scoping review and highlight factors that influence the capacity to adapt to the mental health consequences of a changing climate. Findings from this assessment reveal eleven key factors that influence the capacity to adapt: social capital; sense of community; government assistance; access to resources; community preparedness; intersectoral/transdisciplinary collaboration; vulnerability and adaptation assessments; communication and outreach; mental health literacy; and culturally relevant resources. Attention to these factors by Canadian decision makers can support proactive and effective management of the mental health consequences of climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Adaptation to Climate Change)
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