by Yonit Friedman
Many of us are fortunate to have never faced a climate crisis that made news, such as a hurricane or a wildfire. Even so, climate change is changing all of our lives on both a large and small scale. As we continue to organize for a livable future, everyday climate impacts can remind us what we work for.
Here are five ways climate change affects us every day:
Shift of Seasons Will Cause
Headaches for Allergy Sufferers
Ahhhh-choo! Have you noticed that you sneeze more often? You don’t imagine things-allergic season getting longer, and many people reporting worse symptoms. Climate change means spring starts earlier and there is more pollen in the air. For some people, this can go beyond discomfort and seriously threaten their health. For example, asthma rates are higher in environments with more pollution. The United States’ racist past and present mean that neighborhoods that were historically red lined now have lower air quality.
Climate Change Send
Utility Billing Through the Roof
It seems easy enough: hotter summers mean more people turn on the air conditioning, which increases electricity bills in addition to temperature. It’s getting worse. When these prices plunge people into debt, the company can turn off customer utility. Over the past few years, utilities have turned off heat during winter storms and water during pandemics. Limiting warmth and access to handwashing during these times could have disastrous consequences, even more so for low-income Americans.
Climate Disturbance Is
Supply Chain Disruption
Has shopping become more of a struggle? If you’re having a hard time finding products that used to be mediocre, it could be climate change. Transport infrastructure is vulnerable to disruption from fires, storms, and other extreme weather events that can be traced back to climate change. This means more empty shelves and longer waits for delivery, even after the news continues. For those who need delivery of necessities (think meds and formula), this delay can put their health at risk. Meanwhile, workers who keep supply chains moving are forced to work in hazardous conditions during the climate crisis. Worsening climate change threatens consumers and workers alike.
Will Trigger More Pandemics
We are in the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have gone through grueling, stressful, frustrating, and sad years, and we are ready for COVID-19 to end. Unfortunately, climate change is associated with a higher probability of a new virus pandemic. What’s behind this relationship? As temperatures rise, animals migrate, sometimes bringing them closer to humans. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of a “viral jump”, when pathogens pass from one species to another. Virus risks associated with places like wildlife markets could become wider, putting more people at risk. Combating climate change is key to preventing more misery caused by the pandemic.
Climate Change Will Lower Birth Rates
This one is for everyone who hopes for grandchildren one day. Many millennials and zoomers cite the climate crisis as one reason why they may have fewer or no children. To be clear, everyone should have the right to make their own choice whether to have children or not. It is also true that everyone should have the right to raise their children in a safe environment. Climate change directly violates that right. We must continue to fight climate change so that present and future generations can live and thrive on this planet.
These everyday occurrences may be less important than a major storm or forest fire. However, they all cause continuous and corrosive damage to human life. We all deserve the opportunity to build safe and fulfilling lives, without paying the price for the destructive practices of fossil fuel companies.
Our loved ones need to know the stakes.