There are so many stories flying around about the horrors already being wrought by climate change, you’re probably struggling to keep up.
The warnings have been there for decades but still, there are those who deny it. So perhaps it’s time to look at how climate change is affecting you, by ruining some of the things you love.
1. Not the holiday you hoped for
We often choose holiday destinations with the weather in mind. Sadly, climate change may see your usual destinations become less inviting, and maybe even disappear entirely. But there’s more to think about than your favorite beach retreat being drowned, or the Great Barrier Reef decaying before you see it.
Now we have to worry that “extreme weather events pose significant risks to travelers”. The warnings here range from travel disruption, such as delayed flights due to storms, through to severe danger from getting caught in cyclones, floods or snowstorms.
Simply getting where you need to go could become an adventure holiday itself, but not a fun one.
2. Last chance to see some wildlife
There are more and more examples of animals falling victim to climate-change-induced extreme weather events, such as the horror of mass “cremations” of koalas in the path of recent Australian bush fires or bats dropping dead during heatwaves.
On top of that, news of the latest climate-related animal extinctions is becoming as common as reports of politicians doing nothing about it.
3. History and heritage at risk
The Italian city of Venice recently experienced its worst flooding since the mid-1960s, and the local mayor clearly connected this with climate change.
Aside from the human calamity unfolding there, we are seeing one of Europe’s most amazing and unique cities and a World Heritage site devastated before our eyes. Climate change threatens more than 13,000 archaeological sites in North America alone if sea levels rise by 1m. That goes up to more than 30,000 sites if sea levels rise by 5m.
UNESCO is worried that climate change also threatens underwater heritage sites, such as ruins and shipwrecks. For example, rising salinity and warming waters increase ship-worm populations that consume wooden shipwrecks in the Baltic sea.
4. Pay more for your coffee
As the climate changes, your coffee hits will probably become rarer and more expensive, too.
A report by the Climate Institute in 2016 suggested coffee production could drop by 50% by 2050. Given how rapidly negative climate predictions have been updated in the three years since this might now be considered optimistic. Yikes.
5. You and your family’s health
As the climate changes, the health of your children, your parents, and your grandparents will be at greater risk through increases in air pollution, heatwaves, and other factors.
It can be heartening to see the strong, intelligent and positive action being taken by the world’s youth in response to the lack of climate action by many governments. But the fact this is a result of literal, existential crises becoming a normal part of everyday life for young people is utterly horrifying.
6. Home, sweet home
The recent bush fires in Australia and the United States reveal how dramatic and destructive the effects climate change can be to where you live. Hundreds of houses have already burned down in Australia this fire season.
Fires are getting more frequent and more ferocious. The seasonal windows where we safely used controlled burning to clear bushfire fuel are shrinking. It’s not only harder to fight fires when they happen, but it’s also becoming harder to prevent them as well.
Fires aren’t the only threat to homes. All around the planet, more and more houses are being destroyed by rising seas and increasingly wild storms, all thanks to climate change.
7. Not the wine, please!
Still not convinced climate change is wrecking things you love? What if I told you it’s even coming for your wine. Less water, soil degradation and higher temperatures earlier in the season all lead to dramatic negative effects on grapes and wine-making.
One small upside is that disruption to traditional wine-growing regions is creating opportunities to develop new wine-growing areas. But there is no reason to believe these areas will maintain stable grape growing conditions as climate change progresses.
So, what now?
It’s easy to be sad. But to change our trajectory, it’s better to be mad. In the words of that great English singer-songwriter John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten), “anger is an energy”.