Climate scientists have warned that climate change will bring about—and already is bringing about—more frequent and fiercer storms. But climate change leads to far more than just destructive weather patterns, with consequences in almost all aspects of our lives. Here are just a few of the many possible effects of our rising global temperature.
Natural disasters will increase. Climate change increases the risk of natural disasters that disproportionately affect low-income people who lack the resources to prepare, recover, or relocate.
Food will be scarcer and more expensive. Food prices increase as farmers face new levels of unpredictability in weather patterns. Drought and floods may cause widespread soil infertility and increased plant diseases.
We'll experience more drought—and floods. Changes in weather patterns lead to both increased drought and flooding, because warmer air can hold more water. Many dry places will become drier, while others will be inundated with rain.
We'll get sicker. Warmer temperatures broaden the geographic range of insects that carry deadly diseases such as malaria, affecting more people. Warm air holds pollution closer to the ground, increasing respiratory illness. Diseases such as AIDS, which are linked to migration, poverty, and malnutrition, may also increase.
Human trafficking will increase. With increased migration and job loss from agricultural instability, populations—and especially women—become increasingly vulnerable. As traditional sources of income evaporate, the incentive to exploit others becomes higher.
Some will have to flee their homes. As land becomes uninhabitable due to agricultural and water instability, flooding, disease, or the effects of natural disasters, more people will be forced to leave their homes to seek opportunity elsewhere.
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The announcement was broadcast at the end of the day over the school’s public address system.
"Our Teacher of the Year for 2013-2014 is ... Mr. Barton. Congratulations!"
I walked out into the third-grade hallway where students were lined up for dismissal. Little hands reached up and patted me on the shoulder. Small voices joined together and called out, "We're proud of you, Mr. Barton!" Alondra, a quiet student, pulled me close and said, "Thank you for being my reading teacher." I was honored and humbled.
As I walked back into my classroom, I reflected over my five years teaching at this Title I elementary school. "Who am I, what have I done, to become Teacher of the Year?" I asked myself.