We all know that the world is getting hotter, from personal experience. Most of us understand that this is due to humans doing nasty stuff to our upper atmosphere. Some of us deny this. Whichever side you are on, it is unquestionable that heat waves are more frequent, more severe and more devastating. And steadily getting worse.
Global climate change has already affected the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. Scientist’s earlier predictions are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.
It’s not just humans that are hurting from heat. Bat babies in southern Australia are dying by the 100’s from the heat, which is frying their brains. Flying fox babies in this same region are also threatened.
Struggle is Real
All over the world people in precarious health are having more of a struggle than ever. They now have to deal with overheating as well as their medical symptoms. Extreme heat can cause deadly heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke, as well as make certain chronic conditions such as heart disease worse.
Another health hazard comes from extreme weather , which is increasing in frequency and severity. This includes heavy downpours, floods, droughts and major storms.
Still another health hazard comes from air pollution. Climate change reduces air quality because heat increases smog, wildfires and pollen production.
Scientist predict that by the end of this century temperatures in Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka could exceed the upper levels of human survivability, Around 1.5 billion people.
And of course the oceans are rising and will continue to rise, wiping out major parts of most coastal cities. If you live in ocean front property you might consider a move inland. By 2050, annual losses from flooding related to climate change and sea-level rise could increase to more than $60 billion a year. The poor will suffer the most as they lose their homes and cannot afford a replacement.
To make matter worse, the climate shifts are causing major increases in natural disasters like draughts, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes. Mother Earth is not happy.
Ready for more? Seems that the warmer climates are encouraging germs of all kinds, including some possible new ones. As the weather warms, disease-carrying mosquitoes, ticks and fleas can survive in new regions that were previously too cold for them to inhabit. Lyme-disease-carrying ticks, for example, are now found in 46 percent of all U.S. counties, compared with 30 percent in 1998, according to the report.
Climate change in Africa is causing entire populations to move from one distressed area to a more favorable region, sometimes by violent means. The displaced groups take land from the current residents, quite often killing them in the process.
Is there hope? Yes, but the main proposed solution is very risky. We know that volcanic eruptions in the past have caused a year or so of global cooling. The particles from the volcanic eruptions have filled the upper atmosphere and partially blocked sunlight. Result was a 1.0 degree reduction in earth temperature, plus a few major winters that were devastating. We don’t know how much debris to put up there, quite where to put it, how long it will stay up, or what to if things go terribly wrong. In which case we might be all living in igloos.
Not sure what to do? In a couple of words…live fully.