I'm a Scotsman who can't cope in the sun. I burn when it's 70 and cloudy. Can you blame me? In Scotland last week there was a headline on the front page of a national newspaper stating that Scotland was scorching and it was only 82 degrees!
But rising temperatures are no joke. I've lived in the US for the last eight years and last year here was the hottest on record. In 2016 the globe is set for its warmest year ever. The scientific backing for climate change is overwhelming and there will be real impacts.
Yet people still don’t seem to take climate change and its consequences, such as rising sea levels and rising temperatures, seriously. Why not?
As someone who works in PR, and understands how news cycles work, maybe it's the perspective that people think that this is a problem for their grandchildren to solve. People focus on what are seemingly more immediate and pressing issues, such as the economy, Zika (of course there's a climate change link there), or even the upcoming Presidential election. But the reality is that climate change should be considered a pressing and immediate issue. We're already seeing its impacts today – Miami Beach, Norfolk and other East Coast cities are regularly flooding during high tide. The other extreme is that heat waves are occurring more often, causing droughts and wildfires in California, the Pacific North West and beyond. And the problem is worsening.
Climate change isn't a future concern – it's a present concern and it's here to stay.
We must address climate change through both mitigation, by reducing our reliance on carbon-based energy sources, and adaptation, by preparing to live in a world where the weather is fundamentally different, now. Otherwise, it won't be just me that can't cope with the heat. It'll be all of us.
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Climate change, Drought, Floods/storms, Resilience
Location: New York, NY, United States