Can global warming make you sick? In some ways, it can.

It can encourage the proliferation of insects, like mosquitoes, which carry disease such as West Nile and malaria. It can also affect children, who are more sensitive to weather changes than adults, in the form of more frequent fevers. Because hot weather can cause food to spoil faster, an Australian researcher discovered that more people went to the hospital because of gastric problems when the temperatures were high. quotes pediatrician Lawrence Lam as saying, “As global warming is becoming more apparent, there is an urgent need for more in-depth and thorough investigation of climatic factors on human health, especially in early childhood.”

We need to learn how to harness the sun, not just hide from it. Solar energy has the power to reduce greenhouse gases and provide increased energy efficiency, if we can ever learn to use it efficiently. Materials scientists George Crabtree and Nathan Lewis are working on this. Crabtree reminds us that, “Sunlight is not only the most plentiful energy resource on earth, it is also one of the most versatile, converting readily to electricity, fuel and heat. The challenge is to raise its conversion efficiency by factors of five or ten?We are just scratching the surface of this rich research field.” Their main goal is to produce higher solar energy efficiency in the area of electricity, by developing new, less expense materials for solar cells.

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