Pollution, greenhouse gasses, plastic production, microplastic, and more have turned out to be a sickly concoction for the Earth. This has resulted in melting glaciers, rising seas, global warming, superstorms, extinction of species, and many other horrific natural consequences.
In addition to squandering the beautiful nature around us, climate change has directly impacted the lives of families across the globe. Climate change causes dangerous, extreme weather, health hazards, and economic instability. Without major changes and quick action, these consequences will only worsen over time.
How Does Climate Change Affect Families
According to Climate Council, there are three major ways that climate change can affect families now and in the future. Each one of these impacts has the potential to negatively change families’ lives, and they can cause chain reactions to each other. Preventing or even helping to decrease climate change can spare families from catastrophic events that will stem from these impacts.
The first are physical and ecological impacts, which include heatwaves, droughts, fires, and supercharged storms. While the coined phrase “global warming” implies that climate changes will be comprised exclusively of higher temperatures, climate change can actually manifest as any major change in climate patterns.
Some examples of major climate change in the U.S. include the rising temperatures in the east, more frequent and intense storms in the midwest, and outrageous wildfires burning through the west. These changes arise directly from the worldwide pollution that not only contributes to climate change, but it affects human health negatively.
Human Health Impacts
This bring us to the next major way that climate change affects families: human health impacts. This encompasses infectious diseases, decreasing nutrition, injuries, damage to infrastructure, and job loss.
Recently, scientists have caught on to one of the first major diseases caused by climate change. In South America, there has been a surge of chronic kidney disease cases that have been linked to climate change. This is primarily due to farmers working under the hot sun without access to water. Some rely on soda for hydration, which results in kidney stones and chronic damage. Scientists have found impacts of the same disease from the same cause in regions of India, Southeast Asia, and the southern U.S.
Social and Economic Effects
Lastly, there the are social and economic impacts, such as conflict, war, displacement, damage to infrastructure, and job loss. One example is the refugee crisis in Syria. The worst drought on record in the country, lasting from 2006 to 2011, contributed to the situation, causing a food shortage and exacerbating rising tensions.
Now, although some Syrians are starting to reenter the country, projections show that the country will lose over half of its agricultural capacity in the next 30 years. By now, climate change is impacting almost everyone in the world in some way. Even those who are not directly impacted by extreme climate change may be paying tens of thousands of dollars in their lifetime due to its effects. This is money that not all families can afford, and money that could otherwise be put to other means like housing, healthcare, and so on.
Action to Protect Families
The effects of climate change will only intensify dramatically, potentially displacing many families, harming children’s health, or destroying their homes. It can be scary to think of the future with such catastrophic projections in sight, but it’s not too late to make the necessary changes to save the planet. While people can collectively work to adopt more environmentally-friendly habits, change needs to happen at a higher level.
For example, the Carbon Majors Report found that only 100 companies are responsible for over 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. While this data is alarming, it points in the direction of where we need to take action. If major businesses were more strictly regulated for their pollution emissions, greenhouse gas could be significantly cut down.
For this to happen, politicians across the world would have to ban together to protect the planet and enforce comparatively strict regulations to large businesses.
In addition, political administrators face the responsibility of making positive changes to reverse some of the effects of climate change. According to the University of Reno, Nevada, there are many possibilities for change that public administrators can embrace to face climate change:
Whether it’s working to reinforce public infrastructure to deal with widespread disease outbreaks, chronic conditions like allergies or Lyme or food and water shortages, public health is positioned to become an ever more vital occupation, at the crossroads of human development in response to environmental challenges.
Another industry that is positioned to affect mass change is the tech industry. For instance, advances in civil engineering can provide solutions to provide clean water. Projections for water shortages show that by 2050, 71 percent of counties in the U.S. could be in a water shortage.
Civil engineers are working to find solutions for these future problems, including:
- Desalination: the process of taking salt water and turning it into drinkable water.
- Waste water: recycling wastewater into drinking water.
- Upgrading the water infrastructure: Investing in water and wastewater treatment and infrastructure.
- Agricultural irrigation: using precision technology to increase efficiency.
While many of these technological advances are important for water efficiency, it is important to work on preventing water emergencies where possible. As with other climate change issues, we should spend more time and energy on fixing current problems, as well as preventing and minimizing future issues. This is the only way we can begin make changes to slow climate change and protect the future for our children.