How climate change affects you everyday
We're hearing about the climate crisis just about on a daily basis. It can feel quite far away, like it's not really our problem, not really something we can help. Well the bad news is it affects YOU daily, and its effects will only get stronger over time. The good news is you can help, and it might be easier than you think. Here are a few ways climate change is affecting your daily life, and how you can help fight the climate crisis.
1. You’re facing greater health risks
Warming temperatures are making diseases thrive. A 2003 study (yes, back then already) found a 5-7% potential increase in the distribution of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Not only that, but the rate of malaria transmission could increase 16-28% in some areas. These numbers might seem a bit small, but in 2003 there were already 445 MILLION people exposed annually in Africa alone. That means that an additional 71 to 125 million more people will be exposed to malaria every year.
More recently, a 2010 model of malaria distribution and climate change had this to show:
It's not just malaria you have to worry about in a warmer climate. Other disease are expected to looooove the warmer weather too, including tick bite fever, encephalitis, yellow fever, anthrax, and ebola.
2. You’re facing less food
This is a bit difficult to get your head around. You might not be eating less food, and you wouldn't guess it when you look at the produce in grocery stores, but food is becoming scarcer and scarcer.
Countries all over the world are battling with drought. India has had to import 80% of its cotton to keep its textile industry going. Germany is worried about a second year of drought near Berlin, with temperatures reaching 11 degrees celsius higher in May than is normal for that month. Australia is being forced to import wheat because its own wheat crops are dying in the heat and dryness.
Closer to home, Namibia is facing reduced numbers in livestock because of a lack of sufficient grazing, and our own Free State has been declared a drought disaster area. Just last December, Western Cape farmers donated feed and other resources to cattle farmers in the drought-stricken Northern Cape to see them through.
Extreme temperatures are reaching almost all corners of the world, and it's affecting both subsistence and commercial farming. That means food prices will increase because resources are limited and/or are being imported. You can expect your cost of living to continue rising.
3. You’re facing existential dread
Climate change is impacting your mental health. Psychologically, all the bad news and trauma of climate change is affecting you.
Doctor Britt Wray, author, broadcaster, and researcher, gave a TEDtalk on the impacts climate change can have on your mental health. Everything from feelings of fear and hopelessness to trauma and shock from climate disasters is taking a toll on your mind:
There are things you can do to help
Don't underestimate your power. You can make a huge impact by choosing what you eat with more care. You can offset your carbon emissions when travelling by sponsoring a spekboom with Wonderplant. Even the way you talk about climate change has an effect on fighting the climate crisis, as psychologist, Per Espen Stoknes shows in his TEDtalk:
The point is, climate change is a YOU problem. It's also an US problem. It is our fault, and it is already affecting us and our fellow earthlings, but you have the power to change things, don't disregard that fact.