Nine things you love that are being wrecked by climate change

  Last updated January 7, 2020 at 11:01 am

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From your daily caffeine hit to the risk of extreme weather interrupting your travel plans, climate change is ruining a lot of things we love.


If coffee and wine are things you love, then you need to pay attention to climate change. Credit: Shutterstock/Ekaterina Pokrovsky




Why This Matters: Even your coffee and wine aren’t safe.




There are so many stories flying around about the horrors already being wrought by climate change, you’re probably struggling to keep up.


The warnings have been there for decades but still there are those who deny it. So perhaps it’s time to look at how climate change is affecting you, by wrecking some of the things you love.




Deeper: If now is not the time to talk about climate change, when is?




1. Not the holiday you hoped for


We often choose holiday destinations with weather in mind. Sadly, climate change may see your usual destinations become less inviting, and maybe even disappear entirely.


But there’s more to think about than your favourite beach retreat being drowned, or the Great Barrier Reef decaying before you see it.


Now we have to worry that “extreme weather events pose significant risks to travellers”. The warnings here range from travel disruption, such as delayed flights due to storms, through to severe danger from getting caught in cyclones, floods or snowstorms.


Simply getting where you need to go could become an adventure holiday itself, but not a fun one.


Dead corals coral bleaching increasing from global warming climate change

Lizard Island, in Queensland, is a popular tourist destination but it’s coral has been affected by bleaching. Credit: AAP Image/XL Catlin Seaview Survey


2. Last chance to see some wildlife


There are more and more examples of animals falling victim to climate-change induced extreme weather events, such as the horror of mass “cremations” of koalas in the path of recent Australian bush fires or bats dropping dead during heatwaves.


On top of that, news of the latest climate-related animal extinctions are becoming as common as reports of politicians doing nothing about it.


3. History and heritage at risk


The Italian city of Venice recently experienced its worst flooding since the mid 1960s, and the local mayor clearly connected this with climate change.


Aside from the human calamity unfolding there, we are seeing one of Europe’s most amazing and unique cities and a World Heritage site devastated before our eyes.


Climate change threatens more than 13,000 archaeological sites in North America alone if sea levels rise by 1m. That goes up to more than 30,000 sites if sea levels rise by 5m.


UNESCO is worried that climate change also threatens underwater heritage sites, such as ruins and shipwrecks. For example, rising salinity and warming waters increases ship-worm populations that consume wooden shipwrecks in the Baltic sea.


Flooding in Venice

Tourists and residents wade through a flooded Venice, Italy, in November 2019. Credit EPA/Andrea Merola


4. Taking the piste


Warming temperatures have already hsnowad negative impacts on the US snow sports industry  since at least 2001.


In Australia, ski resorts are expected to see significant drops in snow fall by 2040 and, as temperatures warm, they will be unable to compensate for this by snow-making, because it doesn’t work if ambient temperatures are too high.


Perhaps recent efforts to make artificial snow will give us a few more years on the slopes, but I’m not holding my breath.


5. Too hot for sport and exercise


It’s not just snow sports that will be affected. As temperatures warm, simply being outside in some parts of the world will not only be less pleasant, but more harmful, causing greater risk of heat stress doing any sport or exercise.


That also means lower incentives for – and greater difficulty in undertaking – incidental exercise, such as walking to the bus stop.


hot spectators wearing hats at tennis climate change global warming

The summer heat already causes problems for fans and players during the Australian Open in Melbourne each January. Credit: AAP Image/Julian Smith.


6. Pay more for your coffee


As the climate changes, your coffee hits will probably become rarer and more expensive, too.


report by the Climate Institute in 2016 suggested coffee production could drop by 50% by 2050.


Given how rapidly negative climate predictions have been updated in the three years since, this might now be considered optimistic. Yikes.


7. You and your family’s health


As the climate changes, the health of your childrenyour parents and your grandparents will be at greater risk through increases in air pollution, heatwaves and other factors.


It can be heartening to see the strong, intelligent and positive action being taken by the world’s youth in response to the lack of climate action by many governments.


But the fact this is a result of literal, existential crises becoming a normal part of every day life for young people is utterly horrifying.



8. Home, sweet home


The recent bushfires in Australia and the United States reveal how dramatic and destructive the effects climate change can be to where you live. Hundreds of houses have already burned down in Australia this fire season.


Fires are getting more frequent and more ferocious. The seasonal windows where we safely used controlled burning to clear bushfire fuel are shrinking. It’s not only harder to fight fires when they happen, it’s becoming harder to prevent them as well.




Also: Climate change will make firestorms more likely in southeastern Australia




Fires aren’t the only threat to homes. All around the planet, more and more houses are being destroyed by rising seas and increasingly wild storms, all thanks to climate change.


9. Not the wine, please!


Still not convinced climate change is wrecking things you love? What if I told you it’s even coming for your wine.


Less water, soil degradation and higher temperatures earlier in the season all lead to dramatic negative effects on grapes and wine-making.


One small upside is that disruption to traditional wine growing regions is creating opportunities to develop new wine growing areas. But there is no reason to believe these areas will maintain stable grape growing conditions as climate change progresses.


So, what now?


It’s easy to be sad. But to change our trajectory, it’s better to be mad. In the words of that great English singer songwriter John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten), “anger is an energy”.


So maybe use this list as motivation to think, talk and act. Use it as fuel to make smalllarge or a combination of changes.


Share your concerns, share your solutions, and do this relentlessly.


What’s happening right now is huge, overwhelming, and also inevitable without concerted action. There’s no sugar-coating it: climate change is wrecking the things we love. Time to step it up a notch.


This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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About the Author

Rod Lamberts
Rod Lamberts is the Deputy Director of the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS) at the Australian National University and a former National President of the Australian Science Communicators.

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