How does climate change directly affect you and the people you love?
There’s been a lot in the news lately about the ways climate change may impact people globally. While extreme weather events and rising sea levels are capturing the headlines, a warming planet can actually take a big toll on your day-to-day life this holiday season. We put together a terrific guide that highlights specific ways climate change can affect the medicines you take, the foods you eat, the plants and animals you enjoy in your landscape, the bills you pay, and even your mental health during the holidays.
Here’s a quick summary of the important information you’ll find in each section of our Climate Change at Home infographic:
In the Medicine Cabinet – Everything from West Nile virus and Lyme disease to asthma attacks and poison ivy rashes is on the rise due to warming temperatures. Moms Clean Air Force’s guide explains how a warming world can increase mosquito bites, tick bites, and the pollen and air pollution that make it difficult for some kids to breathe.
In the Kitchen – Love maple syrup on your pancakes? Enjoy a cold beer on a summer afternoon? Just want a little bite of chocolate after dinner? Unusual temperature fluctuations and patterns are wreaking havoc with the plants used to produce these and many other foods. It’s also influencing how expensive they are. Moms Clean Air Force reports that many of your kids’ favorite cereals will cost 20-30% more due to the stresses global warming is putting on crop production.
In the Backyard – Many food plants and flowers depend on pollinating honeybees to reproduce and grow. Scientists are concerned that climate change may actually be altering the timing of nectar flow, a key cue for bee pollination, a problem made worse by the fact that bee populations themselves are declining. Meanwhile, many trees and bushes are blooming earlier than usual. Pollinating insects have not caught up with them, so the insects arrive after the blooms are gone and don’t have anything to pollinate! If apple trees aren’t pollinated, they won’t produce fruit. Birds that eat those insects will miss them as well, and without that important food source, our feathered friends won’t thrive or reproduce.
In the Bedroom – The holiday season can unwelcome guests — stress and depression. It’s hard to have fun “between the sheets,” as they say. But if you’re depressed, can’t sleep, or even suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after living through a hurricane or severe drought, making love may be the last thing on your mind. As for those sheets, climate change threatens global yields of cotton. Cotton is one of the thirstiest crops in the world; it’s also highly prone to insect infestations. Climate change is causing global droughts, even as it is increasing the range for hungry pests. Water scarcity + more bugs = less cotton.
In the Office – Your home office, that is. Extreme weather events have damaged property to the tune of $50 billion a year cumulatively. For me personally, my Washington, D.C. – area home has been hit by a couple of hurricanes, including Superstorm Sandy, which cost me over $10,000 in repairs. And I was one of the lucky ones; I didn’t have to rebuild my entire home, or have it declared uninhabitable and move out. But even without a bad storm, electricity costs are on the rise, as warmer temps increase demand for air conditioning. That means that the cost of running my fridge and other appliances will only go up.
We didn’t pull together this Climate Change at Home guide to scare you. But we believe being forewarned is being forearmed. The better we understand the way global warming can alter our way of life, the more motivated we are to do something about it. Happy, healthy holidays!