By Rod Lamberts | –
There are so many stories flying around about the horrors already being wrought by climate change, you’re probably struggling to keep up.
1. Not the holiday you hoped for
We often choose holiday destinations with 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 favourite 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 travellers”. 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 are becoming as common as reports of politicians doing nothing about it.
3. History and heritage at risk
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 increases ship-worm populations that consume wooden shipwrecks in the Baltic sea.
4. Taking the piste
In Australia, ski resorts are expected to see significant drops in snow fall by 2040 and, as temperatures warm, they will be unable to compensate for this by snow-making, because it doesn’t work if ambient temperatures are too high.
Perhaps recent efforts to make artificial snow will give us a few more years on the slopes, but I’m not holding my breath.
5. Too hot for sport and exercise
It’s not just snow sports that will be affected. As temperatures warm, simply being outside in some parts of the world will not only be less pleasant, but more harmful, causing greater risk of heat stress doing any sport or exercise.
That also means lower incentives for – and greater difficult in undertaking – incidental exercise, such as walking to the bus stop.
6. Pay more for your coffee
As the climate changes, your coffee hits will probably become rarer and more expensive, too.
Given how rapidly negative climate predictions have been updated in the three years since, this might now be considered optimistic. Yikes.
7. You and your family’s health
But the fact this is a result of literal, existential crises becoming a normal part of every day life for young people is utterly horrifying.
8. 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, it’s 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.
9. 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”.
Share your concerns, share your solutions, and do this relentlessly.
What’s happening right now is huge, overwhelming, and also inevitable without concerted action. There’s no sugar-coating it: climate change is wrecking the things we love. Time to step it up a notch.