It surprises me how people who are cautious in most areas of their lives can be so irresponsible when it comes to climate change. I understand that for some the reality of what our rampant consumption is doing to the planet can be hard to comprehend. I understand that it’s not easy to tell the entrenched fossil fuel industry that we don’t want what they’re pedaling anymore. But that’s no excuse. What do we really have to lose?
If we take action to curb the behaviors that are accelerating this change, and the only results are cleaner air, safer water and millions saved on wasted energy, is that so terrible? On the other hand, if we refuse to act because it’s too inconvenient, and it turns out we’re wrong, the consequences are almost incomprehensible.
And we’re not just talking about drought, superstorms, loss of biodiversity. We’re talking about a world where Winter may become an urban legend, and staples like coffee and chocolate become exotic delicacies. Basically, it all comes down to the type of world we want to leave to future generations. Here are five more things that our great grandkids might only hear about in movies if we don’t act soon.
Climate change will have a severe negative impact on the $12.2 billion winter sports industry, affecting the tourism economy in 38 states including California, according to a report released earlier this month. The report, called “Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States” (PDF), says that $1 billion in revenue and up to 27,000 jobs were lost nationwide over the last decade due to reduced snowfall. The winter of 2011-12 was the fourth warmest on record, with about half of ski areas opening late and closing early, the report said. According to another report by the United Nations Environment Programme, only half of the ski areas in the Northeast will be able to maintain 100-day seasons by as early as 2039. How much longer do you think it will take until it affects the large ones in Colorado, California and Europe? Skiers are already hard-pressed now to find places for year-round training. “Of course we’re all very worried about the future of our sport. Every year we have more trouble finding places to train,” said Olympic gold medalist Anja Paerson.
Tropical Island Vacations
Have you always wanted to sit, toes buried in warm, white sand, gazing out on the crystal blue waters of a tropical island? You better book your flight now. It was way back in 2006 when the first tropical island was washed off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels. As the seas continue to swell due to melting Arctic ice sheets, whole island nations, many of which are popular tourist destinations, will be swallowed up. From the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, rising oceans are expected to inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge significant portions of scores of coastal cities. We thought that it would take many decades for ocean levels to put coastlines in danger, but it’s recently been discovered that they’re rising much faster than initially estimated.
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