by Yonit Friedman
Many of us are lucky to have never faced the climate crises that make the news, like hurricanes or wildfires. Even so, climate change changes all of our lives in both large and small ways. As we continue organizing for a livable future, everyday climate impacts can remind us what we’re working for.
Here are five ways climate change affects us every day:
Shifting Seasons Will Cause
Headaches For Allergy Sufferers
Ahhhh-choo! Have you noticed that you’ve been sneezing more? You’re not imagining things–allergy season has gotten longer, and many people are reporting worse symptoms. Climate change means that spring is starting earlier and that there’s more pollen in the air. For some people, this can go beyond an inconvenience and seriously threaten their health. For example, asthma rates are higher in neighborhoods with more pollution. The United States’ racist past and present means that historically redlined neighborhoods now have lower air quality.
Changing Climate is Sending
Utility Bills Through the Roof
It seems pretty straightforward: hotter summers mean more people turning on the air conditioning, which raises utility bills alongside temperatures. It gets worse, though. When these prices plunge people into debt, companies can shut off customers’ utilities. Over the past few years, utilities have shut off heat during winter storms and water during the pandemic. Restricting warmth and access to hand washing during these times can have disastrous consequences, even more so for low-income Americans.
Climate Disruptions Are
Supply Chain Disruptions
Is shopping becoming more of a struggle? If you’re having a hard time finding products that used to be commonplace, climate change might be to blame. Transportation infrastructure is vulnerable to disruptions from fires, storms, and other extreme weather events traced back to climate change. This translates to emptier shelves and longer waits for delivery, even after the news moves on. For those who need necessities delivered (think medicines and baby formula), these delays can put their health at risk. Meanwhile, workers who keep the supply chain moving are forced to labor under dangerous conditions during climate crises. Worsening climate change threatens consumers and workers alike.
Will Spark More Pandemics
We’ve entered into the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve been exhausting, stressful, infuriating, and grief-filled years, and we’re ready for COVID-19 to be over. Unfortunately, climate change is linked to a higher likelihood of new viral pandemics. What’s behind this connection? As temperatures rise, animals migrate, sometimes bringing them into closer proximity to people. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of a “viral jump,” when a pathogen moves from one species to another. Viral risks associated with places like wildlife markets could become more widespread, putting more people at risk. Fighting climate change is key to preventing more pandemic-induced misery.
Climate Change Will Lower Birth Rates
This one goes out to everyone who’s hoping for grandchildren one day. Lots of millennials and zoomers cite the climate crisis as one reason why they might have fewer or no children. To be clear, everyone should have the right to make their own choices whether or not to have children. It’s also true that everyone should have the right to raise their children in safe environments. Climate change directly violates that right. We must continue fighting climate change so current and future generations can live and thrive on this planet.
These everyday occurrences might be less noteworthy than massive hurricanes or wildfires. However, they all cause ongoing and corrosive damage to people’s lives. We all deserve the opportunity to build safe, fulfilling lives, without paying the price of fossil fuel corporations’ destructive practices.
Our loved ones need to know the stakes.