By now you've probably heard that Trump has officially advanced the construction of the Keystone pipeline. And, according to CNN, "Trump has also vowed to slash environmental protection regulations and has nominated several skeptics of the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change to key cabinet posts dealing with environmental issues."
Before you argue that the pipeline decision will introduce jobs to Americans and that jobs are more important right now than the environment, consider the facts. At this point, it is widely recognized and accepted among both scientists and citizens that the ocean is warming, the ice is melting, coastal cities are flooding, and storms are becoming more extreme. Unfortunately, these facts don't seem to produce much action. Even the vast majority who are not skeptics -- those who have taken the time to consider the data, read the charts, assess the potential devastation -- are doing very little to keep this planet livable.
I think it comes down to our tendency to think of ourselves first. So many of us (at times, myself included) think, if it doesn't affect me, why should I care? Well, first off, you should care for others besides yourself (i.e. the lives of future generations who will have to deal with your consequences). But, believe it or not, these global devastations are happening sooner than you might think. And since we seem to be more concerned with issues that have an immediate affect on our own lives, here are seven ways climate change will affect you.
1. Trips to the grocery store will leave a bigger dent in your wallet.
According to National Geographic, "climate change will . . . affect food processing, storage, and transportation -- industries that require an increasing amount of expensive water and energy as global demand rises -- leading to higher food prices."
Decrease in bee populations will lead to decline in pollination, which affects crop yields. National Geographic also warns, "Government scientists also expect the warmer climate to shorten the length of the frosting season necessary for many crops to grow in the spring." It takes an elementary understanding of economics, of supply and demand, to see why you'll be paying more for groceries.
That is, if you get any groceries at all. New York Magazine reveals that the University of Oxford found that food supply issues from climate change "could kill 500,000 people by 2050." That's only 33 years from now.
2. Your morning coffee fix will become widely unavailable.
I know. This one breaks my heart, too. The New York Times cited a study that revealed "countries once offering the proper mix of climate factors in the 'bean belt,' including Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Ethiopia and Vietnam, have become less hospitable because of shifts in weather patterns scientists say can be attributed to climate change."
Not only does this mean our world will be inhabited by more tired, crabbier people -- it also mean millions of people will be left without an income.
3. Your overall health will decline.
It's true -- air pollution will lead to an increase in asthma and other respiratory issues, but there are a plethora of other health problems associated with climate change.
Unfortunately, you could be spending more time on the toilet. Increase in water temperature and runoff often makes for contaminated water. According to The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "Health impacts may include gastrointestinal illness like diarrhea, effects on the body's nervous and respiratory systems, or liver and kidney damage."
An increase in certain particles presents its own health issue. The EPA also reveals, "Inhaling fine particles can lead to a broad range of adverse health effects, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cardiovascular disease." These harmful particles can come from a wide range of sources, including wildfire smoke, fossil fuels, and sea spray.
You will also be more likely to contract diseases like West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease. This is attributed to mosquitoes and ticks, which spread more diseases when there are changes in climate.
4. Your favorite vacation destinations will cease to exist.
If you still think the effects of climate change won't reveal themselves during your lifetime, just take a look at Miami. In fact, its residents have been dealing with the effects of climate change for years. According to The Guardian, "Shops and houses are inundated . . . shop owners keep plastic bags and rubber bands handy to wrap around their feet when they have to get to their cars through rising waters, while householders have found that ground-floor spaces in garages are no longer safe to keep their cars." While millions of dollars have been spent in an attempt to reduce the flooding through draining systems, scientists and many government officials concur that these short-term solutions will not suffice. It won't be long before the entire city is underwater. Sadly, vacations to Miami in coming years will be out of the question, as will many other destinations.
5. Your future children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews will be prone to developmental issues.
This is a result of a combination of issues presented above. Decreased food security will lead to malnourishment and low birth weight, which directly affects growth. And not only that -- the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reveals, "Environmental effects on development include reduction in IQ from exposure to heavy metals such as lead, changes in puberty from exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, birth defects, and fetal loss." Compounds released after extreme weather crises and increased use of pesticides, among other toxins, contribute to these issues.
6. Your mental health will suffer.
Do you want to know what's depressing? Being displaced from your home. Do you know what's even more depressing? Grieving the death of a loved one. With all of the other horrible effects of climate change on your life, your mental health will take a toll. According to Business Insider, "the pattern of increases in depression and anxiety after any severe natural disaster is well-documented."
And it makes sense. People who fall victim to the effects of a disaster are dealing with homelessness, starvation, displacement, injury, loss of assets and loss of friends and family, which understandably leads to unimaginable stress levels and an overall feeling of hopelessness.
7. You could be injured or killed by an environmental disaster.
This is not a joke. Your life could be shortened by climate change. We've already witnessed the increased frequency and intensity of disasters during the 21st century. According to National Geographic, "Researchers examined 28 weather extremes [from 2014] on all seven continents to see if they were influenced by climate change or were just normal weather. Their conclusion: Half of them showed some role of climate change." Major storms like hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and dangerous floods, wildfires, blizzards, heat waves and droughts will only become more common and more deadly.
It has become clear in less than a week that our current administration does not take environmental issues seriously. Climate change is a current issue. It's a major issue -- an issue that could destroy us if we don't take action.
An increase in jobs isn't going to mean much to anyone when we're dealing with severe illness and watching our friends and family starve -- when we're constantly trying to recover from disasters, constantly suffering from developmental issues and mental illnesses. Jobs aren't going to mean much when we're struggling to survive on a planet that we've destroyed. Climate change isn't a long-term issue that won't affect you. It's affecting all of us as you read this. And the longer it's neglected, the faster it will creep deeper into your life. Yes, your life.