We’re all concerned about climate change, but when it looks like a problem for future generations, you ask yourself, ‘will climate change even affect me?’ No matter what you care about, climate change is already affecting our world today. While we still have time to limit the worst impact, here are ten great reasons to start acting now:
1. Because snow leopards, turtles and polar bears are awesome
Climate change will mean big changes for animals around the world. So if we care about incredible species, we must care about how climate change will make it harder for them to find food, and decrease their abitats – from forest to sea ice to the UK’s rivers and chalk streams.
2. Because you need your morning coffee fix
If you’re one of those people who need a coffee hit to get going, mornings may become grim. The effects of climate change on coffee are well-documented and coffee producers are already seeing reduced harvests, and more pests, because of it. Even if you’re caffeine-free you’re not in the clear – wine production may also be hit by climate change.
3. Because coral reefs are amazing
Finding Nemo or Dory may become harder as their beautiful homes crumble under the stress of climate change. Warmer air and ocean temperatures cause coral bleaching, where corals lose their colour and may die. Ocean acidification – from increased CO2 in the atmosphere – compounds the problem. Today, the ocean is 26% more acidic than it was in 1990, and the Great Barrier Reef has just experienced unprecedented back-to-back bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. Climate change is very bad news for anyone hoping to see the Great Barrier Reef one day.
4. Because we all need clean water
Did you know that 2 in every 3 people worldwide live in regions of severe water scarcity? Even a small increase in global temperatures will destabilise the water cycle and could make water scarcity much worse. Climate change affects rainfall patterns, meaning both drought and flooding will be more common, and more intense. And although it’s hardly comparable with life-threatening floods, climate change may already be making you late for work.
5. Because we all hate the sight of politicians in wellies
Globally temperature records have been broken in recent years, and flooding in the UK gets worse. Year after year we’ve seen politicians wading through floods in Somerset, hopping into dinghies in Cornwall and arguing with each other in Westminster. More frequent and more intense extreme weather is a documented result of our greenhouse gas emissions, and the annual cost of flooding in the UK could increase 15-fold by the 2080s as a result of climate change. We need to see politicians taking serious action on climate change, not looking for the next photo opportunity.
6. Because rainforests are incredible
Unique, irreplaceable, and often described as ‘the world’s lungs’, rainforests are some of the most precious habitats on the planet. They really are amazing; the Amazon, for example, is home to an astonishing 1 in 10 of all the known species on Earth. Yet over a third of the Amazon rainforest is already threatened by climate change. It’s a double-edged sword too: worldwide, forest destruction – mainly for agriculture – is a major cause of climate change, generating an incredible amount of greenhouse gases.
7. Because we all deserve to breathe clean air
With anthropogenic climate change driven by human-caused emissions to the atmosphere, it stands to reason that we face compromised air quality. This affects human health, especially children. Air pollution can lead to asthma, heart and lung disease. Beijing’s insidious smog is a visible reminder of this, but bad air quality is also making headlines in the UK, and has been labelled a ‘public health emergency’ by MPs.
8. Because clean tech is exciting
It’s not all bad news. Some of the biggest advancements in technology over the past few years have come from trying to limit, and come up with alternatives to, humanity’s CO2 dependency. Solar panels, wave-energy conversion and wind farms are allowing us to harness the power of nature in a clean way, harvesting energy without harming our environment or destroying habitats. Meanwhile nifty gadgets – like the Wall-E sized robot that can insulate your house to save energy – are helping to cut carbon in unexpected places. More of this technology could mean a cleaner, healthier future for us and our planet – because clean tech doesn’t just help nature, it also has the potential to build better, more accessible and people-friendly cities.
9. Because we are all affected, no matter where in the world we live
Climate change won’t just impact forest, or coral reefs, or even people in far-off countries – it will affect all of us. From more extreme weather to increasing food prices, to recreation and decreased opportunities to appreciate the natural world, people everywhere will feel the effects of climate change. Tackling climate change is fundamentally necessary to create a world where people and nature thrive – and that’s why WWF is working on it.
10. Because of future generations
We are fortunate to live in a beautiful, diverse, nurturing, awe-inspiring planet. Our children, and all future generations, deserve the same.
If you’re feeling worried by now, you’re not alone. Millions of people are working together for our planet. Events like Earth Hour are a brilliant reminder that together, humanity is capable of great things, and we can make change happen for the right reasons.
Already, so much has changed since we first heard about the possible effect of climate change. Beginning with the Rio Earth Summit, then the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, action on a global scale is speeding up. Now it is more important than ever that we use our action, our votes and our voices to tell political and business leaders that action on climate is absolutely essential.
What can you do? You could start with taking our carbon footprint calculator, to look at how your lifestyle impacts the environment and where you can reduce your footprint.