After October came the November, an anomalous heat wave that brought Italians to the beach in the middle of autumn. Although in living memory there have been days with higher than normal temperatures in other years, the Feast of the Saints bridge we are experiencing is definitely extraordinary. Also because throughout the course of the year the thermometer remained at values that, in the long run, can have repercussions on salute and theenvironment.
Because November is definitely not good news
Many Italians are happy that they have not yet had the need to make the change of season, or turn on stoves, fireplaces and heaters. With obvious savings in terms of time and money, e bills which, despite the increases in the last period, will not particularly burden family budgets in the last part of the year. Also giving the new government time to think about new measures that will reduce the costs of electricity and gas supplies. But November isn’t really good news.
The anomalous heat, it must be emphasized, is far from being a blessing. After a hot summer and a month of October with record temperatures throughout Europe, even November could prove to be particularly mild compared to what we are used to. The last few months have been characterized by the persistence ofhigh pressure throughout the Old Continent, which had the function of repairing all the western states from perturbations and cold currents arriving from the Atlantic and Siberia.
The scorching temperatures came as no surprise to forecasters and climate experts. All the models have warned us, in the past years, about the possibility that a situation similar to the one we are experiencing could materialize. This is largely due to human activities and pollution.
Which caused climate change, with heat waves more and more frequent e phenomena extreme weatherwhich until a few decades ago would have been unthinkable at these latitudes.
Abnormal heat: the disastrous effects on the economy and the environment
The heat persists in the beautiful country and the rest of Europe from spring, after a particularly mild and rainless winter. Basins of water have begun to recede, and the level of rivers has also dropped well below the annual average. The result was a drought emergency that was talked about for a long time in the first months of 2022. And which caused huge damage to crops and, therefore, to the entire agri-food chain. Less food on the table, therefore, but also higher prices for primary goods such as bread.
The dry earth is less able to hold thewater, and the increasingly frequent water bombs have resulted in floods that have brought death and destruction both in urban areas and in the countryside. Due to the damage caused by the sudden changes in the weather, since January growers and ranchers have suffered losses equal to 6 billion eurosaccording to the calculations made by Coldirettithe main association of representation and assistance of Italian agriculture.
Based on estimates, and tenth of national production went up in smoke during the course of the year. To cope with the record heat and prolonged drought, emergency irrigation in the countryside is necessary to avoid compromising crops.
Not to mention that you have to protect the plants from parasites, which in this period should have been eliminated by the cold. But nature itself is “haywire”, so much so that mimosas have already blossomed in the Euganean Mountains. Which now may not survive the frosts.
Genoa’s seafront on 29 October.
What effects on health the unseasonable heat has: the risks
But the progressive tropicalization in Italy and southern Europe, in addition to changing our eating habits and causing devastating effects on the economy, it is already having repercussions on our well-being. Experts are also concerned about the salute, considering that our habits and our lifestyle are calibrated to temperatures very different from those we are experiencing. It will take years to modify them, and it is not certain that it is enough to stem the damage that body and psyche could suffer.
If the impacts on the economy and the environment are more easily monitored and evident, climate change affects us in a decidedly more subtle way. The record fall of these days is accompanied, as happens in tropical areas, by a fort overhang thermal during the day. From almost 25 ° C during the day in the cities of Central Italy, in fact, it goes to 10 ° C at night. Making our body more susceptible to infections by viruses and bacteria.
This is because the first line of defense of the respiratory system is composed of cells mucilagewhich secrete mucus that traps pathogens and irritating environmental particles, and from cells ciliatewhich with their movement dispose of the mucus.
The cold, however, affects the movement of the latter, which stop causing the mucus to accumulate. Bacteria e virus thus they have time to proliferate and infect our organism, causing influenza e cold. Particularly in immunocompromised individuals.
Although higher temperatures are the enemy of the coronavirusconsidering that they encourage behaviors less suitable for its reproduction, thermal changes are also friends of Covid. Climate change, having to reduce the issue to the bone, increases infections. And it will have to be taken into account in defining the strategy of the new government to keep the pandemic in Italy under control.
Going from blistering heat to seasonal cold throughout the day can cause other problems. In addition to stuffy nose and sore throat, in fact, these climatic conditions also favor the pains articular not contractures muscularil headachei cramps abdominal muscles not congestions. Not to mention then dizziness, weakness, dehydration in the passage from the home environment to the outside when it is very hot, and perhaps heavy and autumnal clothes are worn.
Furthermore, the record heat has not yet receded mosquitoes e flies from our homes, and pathogen vector animals are continuing to reproduce out of season, favoring the spread of zoonotic diseases. Precisely because of the permanence of mosquitoes even in late autumn, we continue to talk about the West Nile virus.
Climate change makes us feel bad: damage to the mind
Another aspect to consider are the effects of climate change on mood and mental health. We often mistakenly define ourselves meteoropaths. Actually the seasonal affective disorder it is a serious condition, which must be properly treated when it becomes disabling, for example with intense episodes depressants during the winter and states ofanxiety during the summer. However, time has an effect on all of us, in a more or less evident way.
Those who experience an extreme event on their skin, such as a flood, or indirectly suffer its effects, perhaps losing a family member or seeing a “place of the heart” destroyed, can develop anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder e sleep problems. Which can lead the patient to do substance abuse or think about the suicide.
To this must also be added the mental health consequences of sudden events losses economicand the consequent changes in lifestyle and nutrition, with the inability to access, for example, playful or relaxing activities, and the consequent accumulation of stress and dissatisfaction.
The social consequences of climate change, such as mass migration and food shortages, widen gaps and can create tensions in the population, resulting in an increase in episodes of aggression e violence and reduction of social cohesion and solidarity. Continued exposure to bad news about the environment, then, can lead to feeling helpless, sad, angry, nostalgic, with states defined by various authors as eco-anxiety, ache ecological, eco-paralysis e solastalgia.