When in Sao Paulo I met with the ICCP board member and leading climate change and plants scientist, Prof. Marcos Buckeridge. My main question was the pollen, climate change impact on plants pollination and whether it has the same effect on Brazilians living in big cities such as Sao Paulo as on Londoners. And so Prof. Buckeridge answered that in Brazil, where plants have been always thriving, the diversity of protein in pollens is so huge, that it is almost impossible to be allergic. Unlike in Europe, where plants diversity is much lower, so there is a way bigger number of pollen from the same species, in Brazil the quantity of one kind of a plant is dispersed amongst millions of other, hence almost unnoticeable.
That obviously applies to other tropical and botanically diverse places – hence the allergies and COPD cases are not as high as in Northern Hemisphere – namely big urban developments like London or Rotterdam or New York.
He also talked about other impact of climate change, which perhaps have an influence on plants, but these plants in a direct way doesn’t have any effect on human health. Indirectly however – they might have a huge one (aka cane sugar plantations have been not doing so well which obviously affects all industry around it; coffee plantations demand a very particular weather and conditions to flourish and because of the various weather conditions they also might be endangered, etc etc). He himself tries to research those issues and social impact, but it is not easy – so in that respect again there is a huge element of uncertainty.
The conclusion – while contributing to the climate change and continually destroying our local biodiversity we keep shooting ourselves in the foot. Too little variations and too much of the same kind of proteins in pollen in the air makes us sick. By having our respiratory systems already compromised and adding to that all other pollution in the air we kind of suffocating ourselves. Dang. Again a morbid thought.