Sick from the heat? How the climate is changing our health

Climate change is the big issue of our time. It is omnipresent, present in the media and part of our everyday lives, because it poses a high risk to the current and future health of the population. According to forecasts, the average temperature in Germany alone will rise by 1.0 to 1.3°C by 2050 and by 3.7°C by 2100. The frequency and intensity of heat waves will increase in Central Europe. If nothing is done, five more annual heat waves are expected in northern Germany by the end of the century, and as many as 30 in southern Germany. This has consequences for us: because climate change alters our entire ecosystem; and that affects our health. Rising temperatures, for example, promote the spread of the Asian tiger mosquito and other vectors of infectious diseases that were previously unknown here. They also change the biology of allergenic pollen, lengthening the duration of pollen flights and increasing the amount of pollen, which increases asthma and allergic reactions. Higher temperatures can lead to algal blooms by cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) in lakes and the Baltic Sea, which can cause skin irritation. In addition, warming of the Baltic Sea is expected to increase the risk of Vibrio infections. – In the meantime, it is no longer just schoolchildren worldwide who are protesting for effective measures to protect the climate. People are concerned: because it is no longer just about changing our environment, it is directly about our health.

But: To what extent does the environment make us sick and what developments must we expect in the future? – The 45-minute documentary “Is our climate making us sick?” asks questions and provides answers. It shows what effects climate change is already having on human health, what problems and risks we are confronted with in central Germany. But the documentary also wants to show opportunities and solutions to problems; ways to stop climate change and adaptation strategies to the consequences of the changed climate. We talk to scientists and researchers; to people who work every day to better adapt themselves and ourselves to the changed environmental conditions.

Broadcast date:Sonntag, 15. November 2020 um 22 Uhr im MDR
Written and directed by:Heike Dickebohm, Uta Meyer
Camera:Robert Cöllen, Matthias Müller, Fabian Jobin
Editor:Gunnar Refardt
Production:Alex Busch, Christin Gumpert, Marius Meckl
Executive producer:Ulrike Schwerdtner
Producer:Jasmin Gravenhorst