These days, it seems like climate change is all anyone is talking about. But where some people are talking about it because they understand why it’s important and how perilous our current course of action is, others are offering ill-informed and arbitrary explanations for why they think climate change is not important in their minds. Sure, climate change isn’t important... if you don’t mind giving up a few things.
Climate change is not important if you don’t care about the future.
Climate change has led to global extinction on numerous occasions throughout Earth’s history. And while several of those mass extinctions were the result of volcanic activity or meteoric cataclysms, the extreme warming or cooling of the planet has always made it difficult for higher life forms to survive for very long. However, it isn’t the large life forms that we should be worried about in terms of our future, but the very small ones.
Plankton, krill, and insects are an integral part of more than a few ecosystems, including our own. But warming and acidifying ocean waters have begun to kill off great swaths of these creatures. According to the book The Ends of the World by Peter Brannan, excess carbon created by global warming will eventually sink into the oceans, causing algae blooms and ocean anoxia. When that happens and those microorganisms die, it will only be a matter of time before extinction climbs its way up to us.
Climate change is not important if you don’t care about air pollution.
If you’re not worried about air pollution, it’s probably because there isn’t a noticeable amount in your particular area. If that’s the case, you’re lucky, because air pollution kills about 7 million people a year according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In many parts of the world, especially in places where factories or automobiles are particularly prevalent, the smog is so thick that it comes with daily air quality warnings.
According to the NRDC, the majority of this air pollution comes from the energy use and production of fossil fuels. Our cars, factories, and power plants are belching huge gouts of smog into the air we breathe. That pollution contains toxic compounds like mercury, lead, dioxins, and benzene, the last of which has been classified as a carcinogen by the EPA. If the climate continues to warm and we continue to pump CO2 and chemicals into our air, we eventually won’t even be able to go outside.
Climate change is not important if you don’t care about protecting your home.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, and tropical storms are getting stronger every year, heat waves are lasting longer and burning hotter, and droughts are becoming more severe. These effects of climate change are just a taste of the inclement weather our society is likely to expect in the coming years. It’s easy to understand how global warming would make heatwaves hotter and droughts more common, but hurricanes?
According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the increased intensity of weather events like hurricanes is caused by warming ocean waters and rising sea levels — both of which are direct results of climate change. These overcharged storms are set to hit coastal areas harder and more frequently in the coming years, which means many coastal cities might well be underwater before the end of the century.
Climate change is not important if you don’t want to eat.
The shifting climate caused by climate change is going to be a boon for some agriculture and a death sentence for others. According to National Geographic, climate change will lengthen some growing seasons and increase the carbon dioxide in the air to allow for better growth. Unfortunately, it will mean that many of the most common crops, namely, corn, rice, potatoes, and wheat, will have to shift their location in order to find more suitable farmlands.
This shift is not just due to the already alternating climate zones across the globe, but the severity of droughts and flooding that might affect certain agricultural hubs. Climate change will also spell ruin for many crops that are grown along the Earth’s already warming equator, including popular ones like grapes and coffee. According to the The BBC, rising temperatures suggest that half of the land used for growing coffee may become unproductive by 2050. So get your caffeine fix while you can.
Ultimately, we shouldn’t have to resort to cheap tricks to explain why climate change is important. Even the foolish can see the evidence with their own eyes. All you’ve got to decide is what you’re going to do to help fight climate change.