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Gobeshona 6: Health and Climate Change

icddr,b researchers in conversation on how health and climate change are interlinked at Gobeshona 6

The fourth parallel session of day 2 of the four-day conference Gobeshona 6 by the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) was held at Independent University, Bangladesh.

The session was titled “Health and Climate Change” and was hosted by Icddr,b. The presenters of this session were Dr. Md. Mahbubur Rahman, Project Coordinator, icddr,b; Mr. Md. Arif Chowdhury; Mr. Mahmud Hasan Tuhin; Dr. Nazneen Islam Khan, ICCCAD. The panelists were Dr. Peter Kim Streatfield, Emeritus Scientist, icddr,b.; Dr. M Mahbubur Rehman, Project Coordinator, icddr,b; Dr. Wasif Ali Khan, Scientist, icddr,b; Mr. Atik Ahsan, Consultant, icddr,b. 

The first speaker mainly spoke about migration in his research; Internal Displacement of People and Adaptation Practices. He worked in two Upazilas of Khulna, Bangladesh. Riverbank erosion is the highly identified issue for displacement from the place of origin and the second is cyclone. During his research he considered four climatic variables. He made perception of IDPs on impact of changing climate variables on health on these 4 climatic variables. As health adaptation is dependent on the surrounding environments, people who migrate are often faced with health risks as their bodies are not properly adapted.

Mr. Tuhin focused on Sundarban resource users. A lot of people’s livelihood is dependent on Sundarbans, a vital verity hotspot. He researched in 4 villages and find that most of the villagers are dependent on forest resources directly from the Sundarbans. He stated that reduction of forest resource use is the most concerning issue in combating climate change.

If the forest resource is depleted we cannot sustain the Sundarbans. So he proposed to develop our capacity not for disaster management but for overall national development.

Dr. Nazneen brought out an issue often overlooked in the conversation on Climate change: eco anxiety and mental health condition of women in Bangladesh, which is her research also. She spoke that eco anxiety is the anxiety about ecological disasters and threats to the natural environment, such as pollution and climate change. It is a relatively new issue, which anyone can experience due to climate change as natural disasters affect both physical and mental health. Bangladesh Government is not addressing mental health problem properly but should take necessary steps.
People who are suffering from mental health due to climate change are vulnerable and have suicidal thoughts.

She ended with the powerful quote:
“ EveryBODY Matters. Every MIND matters.” 

Sameera Anowar is an Environmental Science student at Independent University, Bangladesh

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