PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2006, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (2): 46-58.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2006.02.006

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Global Environmental Change and Human Health

CHENG Yang11,2, 21, YANG Linsheng11   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing,100101 China|
    2. Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, GSCAS, Beijing, 100039 China
  • Received:2005-11-01 Revised:2006-01-01 Online:2006-03-25 Published:2006-03-25


Today's Global Environmental Change caused by massive human pressures on natural systems has significant and wide impacts on human health. There is much contemporary discussion on "global environmental change"(GEC), which is not only "climate change", but refers to human-induced changes in the large-scale biophysical and ecological systems that comprise the earth's life-support systems. Many world organizations and scientists follow the request of the research on "Health and Environment", and have some conclusions on eliminating or alleviating the potential adverse health effects caused by environmental change. This paper introduces the content and the framework of environmental change and human health research within ESSP, composed of WCPR, IGBP, DIVERSITAS and IHDP, and based on the question of how global environmental changes might affect human health. It summarizes the impacts on human health brought by the following seven aspects: climate change, ozone depletion, biodiversity lose, land desertification and drought, environmental pollution, globalization, and urbanization. However, recent research activities are most fully developed in relation to climatic influences on human health. How policymakers should make decisions, which would focus on preventing adverse health effects of the environmental changes without impeding the economic development, is another hot topic, especially in developing countries. The poor, the elder, the ill, and the children are the vulnerable population to the environmental change. Implementation of policies for dealing with any adverse impacts on human health would be helpful to cope with any adverse impacts of environmental change. As an example, the challenge for China on the "Human Health and Environmental Change" is explained at the end of the paper. With global environmental change, there is an urgent need to understand the possible consequences for human societies, and scientific research would be effective against the most of potential adverse effects on health from global environmental change.

Key words: climate change, global environmental change, human health

CLC Number: 

  • X144