Climate Emergency Institute
Climate Science Library
Global Climate Change Impacts and Risks to the Most Vulnerable Populations
​in the Mexican Republic
Martha Marquez, Mexico
Original Post: Dec. 30, 2011

It is known to the majority of the world population that the global climate keeps changing and modifying living conditions for beings in all environments. It is a crisis because the climate change we are experiencing is man made. If we do not do something about it- both as individuals and as communities- by the end of this century, the world’s population will be decimated, and full of hardship.

Climate changes affect not only specific regions, but are felt worldwide. In the past 30 years, climatologists have changed their perceptions about the anthropogenic nature of climate change, from skepticism to reality.

It is not enough that the emergency presented by this climate change crisis to our country is being recognized by the Mexican Government, higher learning and research Institutes and International Organizations, such as Greenpeace and the Red Cross. We require also that Medical Associations within the country speak up and join the movement to reduce the carbon footprint, both for the individual and for the communities we each live in. The health that we swore to protect and preserve is at a higher risk. We are being hit with diseases we did not previously have in certain regions, but which are showing up in recent times or with those we saw in specific populations presenting now in general population.

International Aid Organizations such as the Red Cross have stated that most of the world population affected by natural disasters varies mostly due to extreme weather conditions. With global climate change in full effect, droughts, landslides, river flooding, hurricanes and tropical storm seasons are devastating larger areas with increasing frequency.

Our country’s territory is about half semi-deserted to deserted land and the scarcity of drinking water is one of the highest and most pressing problems we face. In 1995 Dr. Adrian Guillermo Aguilar Martínez presented a paper stating these risks for the future. His assessment is coming true: about 13 States are struggling with water scarcity issues both for human consumption and crop sustainability. Rural populations are decreasing as their vulnerability is inversely increasing.

Moreover, we are seeing a rise in diseases such as malaria, dengue, cholera, onchocercasis, leishmaniasis, trypanosomiasis, typhoid fever, shigellosis and paratyphoid fever, in the geographical areas where they are endemic and in those where they were not seen previously. As if these were not enough dehydration, skin cancer and respiratory diseases rates also have an increased tendency.

Mexico’s population vulnerability is found in the isolated rural communities as well as those that are living in the heavily populated cities, of which lack sanitary services and adequate food and health services. The maize and wheat crops have been affected and there are whole agricultural communities fighting against transgenic seeds. Despite the government (through INE and SEMARNAT) efforts to cut deforestation the “climatic change will increase the biodiversity losses and with it the decrease ecosystem services which will impact production systems...and the effects on biodiversity may have an impact on food securities, as well as a reduction in the quantity of pharmaceutical or cultural (ethno botanic) species...”

The coastal territories (and populations) at enormous risk from rising sea levels are those of Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz and Guerrero. We require a higher consciousness of the impact the global climate changes are having, not only in the planet, but right here in our country, and that are directly or indirectly affecting each and every one of us. We have to reach out to those who continue to deny the changes and immediate perils we are in if there is no action taken. We cannot keep expecting the Government to take all actions possible and we cross our arms and close our eyes. Our country and our World need us to take action now.

Moreno Sánchez, Ana Rosa; Urbina Soria Javier. IMPACTOS SOCIALES DEL CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO EN MÉXICO. INE-PNUD, México D.F., 2008