Climate Change at Home

Climate change isn’t a distant concept; it affects us every day in our homes. Our kitchens, back yards, bathrooms, and bedrooms are all affected by the impacts of climate change. Scroll down to learn how common household foods and objects are impacted by climate. Click any title to sort by room.

In the Medicine Cabinet
A warming world alters the habitat and lifecycle of insects, such as the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus. Changing patterns of precipitation, along with rising temperatures, will increase mosquito populations in some places, while decreasing them in others. New patterns of disease transmission will mean that previously uninfected areas may face new diseases carried by back yard pests.
In the Kitchen

Grocery bills are on the rise due to drought and extreme weather, as well as temperature changes that affect crop Because of the current California drought, prices of artichokes, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower are expected to rise by 10 percent or more. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that climate change will contribute to global food cost increases from a low of 3% to a high of 84% by 2050.

In the Backyard

Poison ivy will grow bigger and more irritating as the climate changes. Global climate change may soon make our planet a much itchier place and the vines may become more potent.

In the Bedroom
Climate change threatens global yields of cotton, and textile companies worldwide are bracing for scarcity. The crop grows well in hot weather, but is sensitive to too much or too little water, making it vulnerable to the extreme weather brought on by climate change.
In the Kitchen

Climate change is threatening coffee crops in virtually every major coffee producing region of the world. Higher temperatures, long droughts punctuated by intense rainfall, more resilient pests and plant diseases have reduced coffee supplies dramatically in recent years, and costs are rising. In the Americas, weather variability linked to climate change is threatening coffee yields. Increasing rainfall in Central America has facilitated the spread of the coffee rust fungus, which has reduced yields and threatens to destroy 40% of the crop. Brazilian drought destroyed one fifth of that nation’s 2014 crop. Meanwhile, global coffee prices rose from $1.20 per pound to $2.20.

In the Backyard
Gypsy moths, tent caterpillars and other pests will expand their territory throughout the country, damaging forests and gardens in their path.
In the Kitchen

The drought gripping California and the Great Plains has cut cattle herds and driven beef prices to an all-time high. Drought in these areas is predicted to increase in a warming world.

In the Kitchen
Grape growing temperatures will migrate northward, and traditional winemaking areas (such as France, Italy, and California) could see declining yield and quality. By 2050, the area suitable for cultivating wine grapes will decrease 25% to 73%. Many winemakers are already making plans for changing the variety of grape they cultivate within the next few decades to suit the changing climate. Meanwhile, previously vineyard-sparse areas such as Great Britain may become major wine centers.
In the Kitchen
Small scale cocoa farmers in West Africa face declining yields of cocoa due to rising temperatures and drought. West Africa is the source of half the world’s chocolate.
In the Kitchen
The ocean absorbs some of the carbon dioxide now going into our atmosphere, resulting in more acidic waters. This acidity in turn damages the shells and skeletons of marine life, threatening the viability of shellfish harvests. Shellfish growers are already losing harvests (and money) due to ocean acidification; shellfish scarcity on the dinner table is a potential consequence as yields drop and prices rise.
In the Kitchen
Climate change is already impacting the world’s staple food crops, sending prices up and outputs down. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the global price of cereals, the world’s staple crops, has more than doubled since 2000. Why? Stresses on global water supplies, something that climate change will continue to exacerbate. Climate change’s affect on agriculture will be its most important impact on our economy. Yields of major US crops will decline, as will profits from US farms, with increased uncertainty about crop yields. Just 2 degrees of warming – expected by 2030 – will decrease US production of the global food staples wheat, rice, and maize.
In the Kitchen

America’s favorite breakfast will become increasingly expensive. Frosted Flakes, Kix, and Corn Flakes will see prices increase 20-30% by 2030 due to flooding and drought from climate change, according to a 2014 report from Oxfam.

In the Backyard
Even as the honeybee faces pesticide-related colony collapse, climate change will further stress this economically important pollinator. Already scientists note changes in the timing of nectar flow, a key cue for bee pollination, and bee populations are declining. Honey production may suffer over time.
In the Kitchen
Avocados are sensitive to temperature increases, and the California yield of this creamy fruit could drop by more than 40% by mid-century, due to rising temperatures. The fast food chain Chipotle has warned that rising avocado prices could eliminate their beloved guacamole from menus nationwide, due to climate change.
In the Kitchen
Almonds are a water-intensive -- and heat-sensitive -- crop. Almonds grown in California, where a historic drought is severely straining water supplies, provide 80% of the global supply. Even as global demand for the nutrition-packed nut increases, California's crop is on the decline, due to milder winter nights and reduced water supply. Climate change will likely worsen these trends, leading to reduced almond yields. 
In the Medicine Cabinet
Incidence of Lyme Disease, spread by the bite of the deer tick, has more than doubled since 1991, and some scientists think climate change has already helped the disease-carrying ticks thrive.
In the Backyard
Birds are experiencing dramatic population decreases, due to mis-timed migrations and insect availability.
In the Backyard
Woody northeastern perennials such as apple, grape, lilac, and honeysuckle have advanced their spring phenology from two to eight days since 1965. When trees bloom earlier, the pollinators are not in sync with the arrival of the flowers they need for food. And, of course, the trees need the pollinators to set their fruit.
In the Kitchen
The cost of water will increase as drought becomes more widespread. One third of all counties in the lower 48 states face a high risk of water shortages by 2050 due to climate change. Climate change will impact municipal drinking water supplies in every region of the US, with costs in the billions.
In the Kitchen
The cost of non-food consumables will increase, driven by drought-related increases in shipping costs and damage to factories and other commodity infrastructure from extreme weather events.
In the Medicine Cabinet
Rising temperatures will increase air pollution and pollen in some areas, leading to more asthma attacks and lung infections in children. Many families will have to cope with lost school and work days, visits to the health clinic and hospital, and the related costs of healthcare and drugs.
In the Kitchen
US Forest Service research shows that climate change may shift and reduce the range of sugar maple trees through drought and milder winters. Fewer trees, and more stressed trees, may decrease availability of the prized pancake topper, made from the boiled sap of the maple tree.
In the Kitchen
Hotter summers are harming European hop harvests, and US producers are bracing for similar effects. The sensitive plant thrives on hot summers, plenty of water, and a hard winter freeze. Drought and rising temperatures may make beer’s main ingredient harder to come by.
In the Medicine Cabinet
As extreme weather and rising seas continue to damage our communities, climate change will exact a severe mental health toll on our society. This kind of climate distress can take many forms, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep difficulties, social avoidance, irritability, and drug or alcohol abuse.
In the Kitchen
The cost of electricity will increase. This will be driven largely by two climate-related factors: warmer temperatures will increase demand for air conditioning; and droughts will strain electricity production. That means that the cost of running major appliances, like refrigerators, will take a larger chunk out of family finances.
In the Office
Weather and climate related property losses currently average $50 billion a year. In 2012 alone, natural disasters were responsible for $35 billion in privately insured property loss. As climate change increases extreme weather events, these costs will rise. Families will pay more, and rates will rise. Many properties and businesses can no longer qualify for private insurance. This leaves higher risks and costs to government and individuals.
In the Backyard
The white ash trees of Pennsylvania, used to make baseball bats, are under attack from the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive beetle. Trees stressed from frequent or especially harsh droughts are more vulnerable to the borer’s impacts. Climate change could fuel the spread of the beetle, which feasts on all ash species, including white, green, and black ash.
In the Backyard
Bark beetles thrive when trees are stressed from drought, and they have caused widespread tree death recently, feeding on pine trees across the West. Climate change is likely to perpetuate the conditions on which these beetles thrive, harming our beloved backyards, parks, and forests.
In the Backyard
A warming world alters the habitat and lifecycle of insects, such as the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus. Changing patterns of precipitation, along with rising temperatures, will increase mosquito populations in some places, while decreasing them in others. New patterns of disease transmission will mean that previously uninfected areas may face new diseases carried by back yard pests.
In the Backyard
Bumblebee populations are declining, and a warming climate may be a cause. Bumblebee populations have retreated 190 miles from their Southern extent since the 1970s, without a corresponding expansion north, leading to a curtailed range of this key pollinator.
In the Medicine Cabinet
Poison ivy will grow bigger and more irritating as the climate changes. Global climate change may soon make our planet a much itchier place and the vines may become more potent.
In the Bedroom
As extreme weather and rising seas continue to damage our communities, climate change will exact a severe mental health toll on our society. This kind of climate distress can take many forms, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep difficulties, social avoidance, irritability, and drug or alcohol abuse.
In the Backyard
Incidence of Lyme Disease, spread by the bite of the deer tick, has more than doubled since 1991, and some scientists think climate change has already helped the disease-carrying ticks thrive.