Social Impacts of Climate Change

We NEED To Consider The Social Impacts Of Climate Change

Soon we'll have bigger problems to deal with than the death of polar bears and crazy weather. Now is the time to change things before they become irreversible.


Climate change is here and now. There can be no argument about its presence anymore, but that's not what this article is about. I think we all know that climate change is leading to increased overall global temperatures, species extinction, and more erratic weather patterns. If that doesn't convince you to do something, though, let me take a look at the social impacts that this phenomenon is going to have, and further argue the importance of climate change reversal efforts.

Most people I know that care about saving the planet are doing so not for the long run impact that it's going to have on humans. They do it because they care about nature and wildlife and saving the beauty that we so often take for granted. For some people, though, this just isn't motivating. While I'm not one of those people, I'm going to aim to take a stab at convincing you—with different goals in mind—why we need to be working to save our planet.

The first thing that comes to mind is the impacts that we're going to see due to rising sea levels. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that rising sea levels are going to mean less surface area for people to occupy. When this happens—and at the rate we're going, we're talking in "whens" and not "ifs"—people that occupy coastal spaces are going to be moving closer and closer towards the center of the land. Now, add in an exponentially increasing population, and I assume you can see a problem occurring. To make matters worse, humans have a long history of starting wars over such matters as who is allowed to live where. For countries like the United States, maybe there will be fewer problems in the beginning, but there are multiple countries that are predominantly island chains. This is a phenomenon that could wipe out whole countries, and those individuals will need a place to go. It's inevitable that countries will begin to fight over who deserves the land, and it's doubtful that we'll do so in a manner that doesn't involve death.

Another big impact of climate change is going to be its effect on minority communities. One of the worst things about this problem is that the most damage is being done by the small percentage of individuals with the largest amount of wealth (a problem in and of itself). The consequences of this damage, however, are going to be felt by those who have the least control over their situations. The impacts of climate change (i.e. asthma, cancers, increased prices of fuel, decreased availability to clean water) are going to impact these individuals the most, and they're not going to have the resources to take care of their basic needs when things become dire. You know who will though? The large companies who are giving money to lawmakers to pass bills that allow them to continue their pollution of our air and water. While you yourself may not be a member of a minority community who will experience these impacts first, you will be part of the communities who have to start fighting for resources once the wealthy continue to use up the available resources with reckless abandon.

While I hope I've convinced you, however briefly, that climate change is going to have a pretty large social impact in the long run, I hope that you also see something needs to be done. You may say (and I really hope you don't) that the individuals that are going to be seeing these impacts first should be doing something to contribute. The funny thing about how our economy is set up, however, is that solutions to these problems are actually being financially discriminated against—again by those with the money and power. Low-income communities don't have the resources to put in things like solar panels and wind energy. They often can't afford to do things like driving a car that runs on electricity rather than gas or support more expensive companies that are putting forth efforts to work more sustainably. That's where the diminishing middle class comes in, though. I know that sometimes it takes more time to separate out the recycling or look into the companies you're buying from, but as those that are financially able to spend a little here or there, it is our responsibility to make conscious and informed decisions.

Now is the time to start voting for and vocally supporting legislators who want to equalize resources among social classes and do something good for our planet. At first, the actions that we need to start taking aren't going to be easy and they may not always support our savings plan for this year's vacation to the Bahamas. In the long run, however, you are demanding that humans be more conscious of their consumption. You are telling the minority communities with little community over their quality of life and health benefits that you support them. We need to stop supporting large companies that refuse to take financial or moral responsibility for their actions. If we don't start making these changes now, our beloved planet may very well be a place that cannot sustain the lives we have worked so hard to make for ourselves. This isn't an issue of should we do something. It's an issue of will we choose to save our planet or sit idly by as we destroy it and our future?

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11 Ways to Save the Great Barrier Reef

The reef is alive. So what do we do now?

We've all seen the tweets. "The Great Barrier Reef is dead!" "Humans killed a 25 million-year-old reef, I hate humans." "We're so evil, how could we do this to the Earth?" Twitter and Facebook have exploded with comments not unlike these. What people don't realize is that the reef is still alive, but in deep trouble. It is now more important than ever for people to take initiative and take steps towards saving this important reef ecosystem. Here's how you can help.

1. CARE: Don't just assume other people will help!

Don't let yourself fall victim to the bystander effect. It is up to each and every individual to save the Great Barrier Reef, along with the rest of the world's coral reefs.

2. Conserve water to reduce runoff.

You may not live nearby the ocean, but dangerous chemicals can still find their way there through lakes, rivers, and streams. By conserving water, you will reduce the risk of runoff and therefore reduce negative effects on coral reefs.

3. Dispose of trash properly.

Disposing of trash properly will decrease the risk of it reaching the ocean where it can harm marine wildlife and throw off the natural pH levels of the ocean.

4. Carpool to reduce CO2 emissions.

CO2 emissions are the leading cause of climate change's quickening rate. By carpooling, CO2 emissions are decreased, slowing the rate of global warming. Slowing global warming will effectively reduce coral bleaching (the phenomenon that currently ails more than 90% of the Great Barrier Reef).

5. Only buy appliances with the Energy Star label to reduce Global Warming's effects.

Appliances with the Energy Star label are better for the environment.

6. Reduce the use of air conditioning and heating units.

By cutting down on the use of air conditioners and heating units, you are reducing HFCs. This will slow the rate of climate change.

7. Purchase LED light bulbs to slow climate change.

LEDs use up to 80% less energy than regular light bulbs. Conserving energy is an important step in slowing climate change.

8. Support the Clean Power Plan.

This is a link to tell your government to support the Clean Power plan. Supporting this plan may convince government officials to take more steps towards protecting the environment. There are also websites similar to this one that petition government officials to take action.

9. Donate.

This is a link to donate to a foundation that will put money towards saving the Great Barrier Reef. Endangered Species International is a legitimate organization that uses the donations they receive wisely. Imagine the possibilities is everyone gave just a couple dollars!

10. Tweet about it. Post about it. Snap about it.

Spread the word about the Great Barrier Reef's demise. Get people to care. Make sure everyone remembers that coral reefs are still here, and they are in desperate need of our help.

11. Don't spread the idea that the reef is a hopeless case!

Above all, do not believe this is a hopeless case. Coral reefs can still be saved. Keep the hope!

The Great Barrier Reef is not dead yet. We still have time. Work on making your own contributions to save the coral reefs. It would be a shame to believe the reef is dead, realize it is still alive, and then do nothing. Do something. Make an effort to change the course of our planet. Do not let the Great Barrier Reef go without putting up a fight.

Cover Image Credit: Desmog

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Bill Nye’s Climate Change Video Won't Spark Our Current Politicians Into Action

He knows we aren't 12 anymore, and he's calling us out on it.


Recently, our favorite scientist Bill Nye appeared on John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight." In the segment discussing the proposed Green New Deal, Bill Nye appears, drops a few 'F-bombs," and literally sets the world on fire. His blunt, explicit point was that climate change is a serious topic, and politicians need to stop making financial excuses.

Growing up, Bill Nye was the guy on the huge, dinosaur TVs that teachers wheeled into class. We got to watch TV, and teachers got to teach us something. This video not only gave me a good laugh, but it made me realize that Bill Nye was always talking about things that mattered. A few years later, his frustration over the inadequate response of the American government was relatable and raw.

However, it was only relatable for someone like me: a kid born in the year 2000, raised in the Obama administration, and looking at a possible future for my grandkids on Mars. This generation gap is seen in Congress, and specifically the Green New Deal mentioned on "Last Week Tonight." John Oliver details the efforts of freshman Congress-person Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in enacting the Green New Deal, which would create legislation for straightforward challenges to climate change. She criticized 2020 Presidential Candidate Joe Biden for his plans for a "middle ground approach" to climate change. She stated that a middle ground approach is a sign of continuous underestimation of climate change and that Democrats should not have to compromise with Republicans on this issue.

This bridge between younger and older, established Democrats is becoming more and more apparent in the discussion surrounding the future of our planet. Would Bill Nye's video change the mind of someone like Joe Biden? Perhaps. As a person of great reputation, Bill Nye's experience and warning could bring about a more adamant side in lenient Democrats.

But would this video change the minds that need to be desperately changed? People who have argued that the costs of the policies would be too detrimental to our economy? Quite frankly, I doubt it. No one's mind has ever been changed by being called names, or by being shamed by a well-known TV personality. The truly sad part is that a well-informed, detailed video by Bill Nye would not work either. It would just fly over people's heads.

If we, as a society, want real change, we have to change the people in office.

We have to consistently show up at every election, and make noise over who we want. Slowly but surely, this is being done. Ocasio-Cortez is the best example. Established politicians have vested interests and alliances with companies and other politicians. What we need are outsiders, not insiders who have gotten comfortable. Outsiders bring their discomfort with them and shock our government into facing reality.

Climate change is not going to be tackled by name-calling, nor will it be tackled by PSAs and informative documentaries. The information is already out there. Climate change is only going to be tackled if we demand people who will fight for it as if it's their last breath because that's what we're approaching if we don't do something soon.

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