Is climate change occurring?  Is it a natural phenomenon? These and other similar questions are currently being argued about by the average citizen, as well as scientists and politicians.  For patients with pulmonary disease, changes in humidity and barometric pressure can have a significant effect on their symptoms, and for most of these symptoms there is no pill or inhaler to help.  Patients need to modify their environment with heat or air conditioning for comfort.

            An interesting insight into the cause of climate change occurs when we consider the number of people the Earth can sustain.  If you consider the Earth as a large piece of land, how many people can it sustain without destroying itself?  The estimates vary since we need to consider water quality and land available for agriculture and other such variables.  One of the most recent estimates is that the Earth can sustain about 5 billion people.  The current population of the Earth is 7.7 billion people and will rise to about 11.2 billion by 2050.

            Thomas Malthus, in the 18th century, predicted that exponential population growth would eventually outstrip Earth’s resources.  More people will drive more cars and contribute more to air pollution, chemical waste (including plastic bags) and forest reduction due to land clearance for agriculture (which is what is happening in the Amazon rain forest).  How to stop this juggernaut is the question to be answered.  If the answer is controlling runaway population growth, who decides what needs to be done?