Did I just hear- “I have money to take care of things, so I don’t think too much about climate change and stuff”?
Hah! Let me help you burst this bubble. Being “rich”/ “middle-class”/ “upper-middle-class”/ “upper class”/ “elite” or anything can not save you from (all) the consequences of climate change.
Sure the impact on wealthy people would be greatly different from that on the poor, because of our occupations, varied sources of income, and our ability to afford things. But living on the same planet exposes all of us to the same air, water, land, and climate, and the money can not “buy” everything. Well, maybe Jeff Bezos or Mukesh Ambani can, but just continue reading if you are not from that clan.
Let’s see what can impact YOU-
1. Economic Losses
Your business/job may take a hard hit.
So, assuming you have successful Businesses running, or have a high-profile job. Do you know climate change’s impact on the economy is humongous? The world’s top Organizations, Investment firms, Manufacturers, Governments, and everybody has started to weigh the risk of Climate Change on the economy. The impact would be different on the different sectors, and here’s what the present data says-
- The agriculture sector has become extremely unpredictable and uncertain because of changes in weather patterns, unpredictable rains, and floods.
- Large parts of the world (including Africa and south-east Asia majorly)will become too hot to survive and/or work outdoors, according to McKinsey’s report.
- Property damage and disruption would occur in business operations, supply chains, and infrastructure (due to climate-induced disasters like floods, cyclones, landslides, sea-level rise), leading to increased costs of maintenance and materials and raising prices for a huge number of services and commodities.
So the question is- you are rich but until when? Are you sure your business or job would be able to sail you through climate change risks (just like right now, during the coronavirus lockdown and market crash)?
2. The Air We Breathe
Your life would be dependent on Air Purifiers. Children would be the worst hit.
Imagine extreme air pollution like in Delhi or China, taking over other cities of the world too. You have parents and young children living with you.
And you know the fact that air pollution causes serious damage to the physical (lung diseases, respiratory ailments, increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and even premature death) as well as mental health (anxiety, psychosis, dementia, decreased childhood cognitive development). So, you obviously have an Air-Purifying System installed at your home.
And your offices, schools, shopping malls, airports, recreational centers, all have the Air-Purifying System. But still, what about outdoors?
We need natural, open spaces, isn’t it? For that, (*splurging some more money*) let’s say you have also created an “indoor garden” for your family to relax and get that ‘breath of fresh air’.
But, would you be OK with a life that is limited within the peripheries of an air-purifying system? And wearing hefty breathing and eye equipment wherever it is not? Would you be OK with that normal?
3. Unbearable Temperatures
Even your outdoors would be indoors now.
The same goes for Outdoor temperatures. Sure you will have air conditioning at every place you go. But what about the outdoors? What about going for a walk in a garden, visiting a lake, going for mountain hiking, seeing national parks, chilling at the beach… you do want to continue doing that, right?
I am damn sure the Virtual Reality Systems that you ad your children will have in the future to ‘experience’ the outside world, can not replace the real feeling of being out there in the open space, breathing fresh air, and enjoying nature!
Oh, did you say you’ll just shift to a colder place? But even the coldest places on Earth (Even Siberia and Alaska are melting) are facing heatwaves which are inducing the never seen before “summers” in the region. So I am not really sure if you could evade the heat for long.
Or if you could even afford a comfortable house at such a place, because the property prices will have soared so much. Every person on the planet would want to move to a colder place because the heat will be unbearable.
4. Extreme Events
You thought money could shield you from the wrath of nature?
Climate change is rapidly changing weather patterns. Couple it with the ill-planned development by humans EVERYWHERE, it’s just a recipe for a disaster when an extreme event hits. Floods, landslides, forest fires, storms, hurricanes to name a few. And what happens next? Loss of property, human life, animals, increased air pollution, water contamination, and scarcity. No matter where you live, high up in the mountains, near river plains, on coasts, in the desert region, nature has one or the other way for retaliation. So there is hardly any escape.
In the recent monsoon and floods in the Delhi-NCR region (India)- Gurgaon’s posh and most expensive real-estate area was under 3 ft. flood water. Thousands of residents living in apartments worth several crores, owning luxury cars, could not evade that misery. The same was the case with the Mumbai floods. So how are you planning to fight nature?
5. The food crisis
Do you know what it takes to grow your food? You’ll know it then!
Climate change will have a direct impact on agriculture. Unpredictable and extreme weather will wreak havoc on the food system. While the food supply would be in danger, the growing populations will further increase the food demand. Not all countries would be able to cater to this demand sustainably and the food prices will rocket.
But sure you’ll be able to afford the food, but there has to be availability too. And the demand would be high too. Studies also show that the nutrition in the food would also decrease and not all the crops would be naturally able to sustain the temperatures.
So, if you even choose to grow your own food, you can not grow everything right? The time is not far when you would be unable to enjoy the myriad of foods on your plates that you have today- exotic coffees from countries half a planet away, imported fruits, vegetables, and grains. It won’t be the same, even if you have money!
6. No fun vacations
Hurry up! Beaches, lakes, snow would be a thing of the past soon.
We don’t even need to talk about 2030 or 2040, it’s 2020 and you’re stuck at home. Or just staycationing at your holiday homes or luxury hotels. Even the Hotel-staycationing isn’t totally risk-free (hate you COVID-19). We don’t know when would the travel situation normalize even in post-COVID times. We don’t even know if the next pandemic awaits us, thanks to us.
On top of that, the tourism industry is also one of the sectors most at risk due to climate change.
All the factors extreme temperatures, floods, hurricanes, forest fires, rising sea levels will affect every place on Earth. Are you ready to see a future with no coral reefs, no exotic islands/beach holiday destinations, no snow-laden mountains, no fresh air, no clean waters, and no biodiversity to behold?
It’s high time that we realize that just having money, property, gold, shares, or whatnot for our future or our children’s future is not enough. What good would be a world where we can not enjoy the luxury to roam freely, without any restrictions and without any dependencies, even if we have money?
So, it’s imperative that we pay attention to these issues RIGHT NOW. We must spend our money wisely, support the organizations working to protect the environment for all of us, use whatever is in our power to spread more and more awareness. And most importantly, speak up against government (their laws and policies), corporates, industries which are sucking the life out of this planet for short term profits.