It may be hard to give the climate crisis a second thought. After all, though statistics are alarming, our lives continue more or less as usual. The temperature may seem warmer than usual but so what? We can adapt, right?
What happens if we go with our “same old, same old” practices and habits that hurt our planet?
Let me list the ways in which climate change will devastate us.
- Depleted clean air and water.
The emissions of GHGs into the atmosphere will reduce the quality of air and water globally. Gases such as Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide act as pollutants that make the air around us gradually unsafe to inhale, and produces acid rain as a by-product. Furthermore, extreme heat waves are drying up large water reserves such as rivers and lakes. For example, Colorado Lake which provides clean water for 40 million people is said to have reduced its water flow by 10% due to climate change.This puts a lot of people at risk of severe water shortages.
- It will soon be too hot to be outdoors.
Constant heat waves will also limit outdoor activities, forcing us to search for less entertaining indoor alternatives.
- More life-threatening diseases.
The lack of clean air and water and the rise in temperatures make it easier for pathogens to multiply. Due to a weaker immune system, children and the elderly are at a higher risk of becoming ill, especially from respiratory and pulmonary diseases. Climate change, coupled with higher emissions of air pollutants (GHGs), may produce negative outcomes for human health. Rising global temperatures will increase the concentration of ozone levels and particulate matter (such as smoke, dust, and ash particles). This may increase the likelihood of certain diseases such as pollution related rhinitis and asthma.
- Food and Income Insecurity.
The climate crisis will hit the agriculture sector hard, as food crops need stable weather to grow. Farmers and the industries that support them will be badly affected.
- Higher prices.
As raw materials become more scarce due to depleted resources, the cost of our goods will rise. Expect to pay more for everything. The poor would be particularly vulnerable as they lack the resources to adapt.
- Extreme disasters.
With climate change, we can expect more earthquakes, typhoons, floods, tsunamis, and other natural disasters caused by climate unpredictability. There would be population displacement as well as billions of dollars of infrastructural damage, not to mention loss of lives. In the last 20 years, Malaysia has spent over RM8 billion towards reparation and recovery projects due to natural disasters, which is only projected to increase with the higher likelihood of extreme weather. Money that could go into growth and development would be needed to rebuild destroyed cities. Insurance costs will rise. Planning for the future would become fraught with complications as we would be living in an uncertain environment due to the unpredictable effects of extreme weather cycles.
The list above may be long but it is not exhaustive! As individuals, we have to realise the terrible consequences of the climate crisis and our part both in creating the crisis and in mitigating it. We owe it to future generations to preserve this beautiful planet and to ensure that they can live safe and comfortable lives especially as they are the ones who would have to bear the consequences of our actions.
We have to ensure that we play our part in saving our home.
Speak out, Reach Out, and Act.
Do you have a burning desire to share your thoughts on climate action through the mediums of writing and photography? Then the Maybank Foundation and Perdana Leadership Foundation’s Writing and Photo Contest is for you. Stand a chance to win cash and cool gadgets, plus get published. Head on over to empoweringaseanyouth.com to find out more!
About the Author
Thaqif Aris is currently an intern for the Perdana Leadership Foundation. He’ll be enrolling in Cambridge this fall studying Political Science and wishes to pursue a career in public policy.