It’s About People, Too

from Wildlife Promise

6 5/1/2007 // By Larry Schweiger

            Global warming has in some ways been mischaracterized.  It’s often thought about as simply an environmental problem.  This “ghettoizes” the issue.  Global warming is going to affect each one of us.  It’s the biggest societal issue facing our day. 

            Hurricanes Katrina and Rita left 1,400 dead and displaced 1 million Louisiana residents, with an estimated 200,000 permanently displaced.  A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that “major storms spinning in the Atlantic and Pacific since the 1970s have increased in duration and intensity by about 50%.”  With global warming, more intense hurricanes are going to become the norm.  And as a society we will all feel that impact.

           As detailed in a recent CNN article Study: Sudden Sea Level Surges Threaten 1 Billion, up to a billion people could be threatened by sea level rise from global warming.  And the Climate Change 2007:  Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability:  Working Group II Contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report released last month indicates that up to 2 billion people could be at risk of serious water shortages due to global warming.

            We still have time to act to avert the most devastating effects of climate change. And the steps we take, like changing to energy efficient light bulbs and choosing more fuel efficient cars, will not only help wildlife but we also help relieve some of the burden that others are sure to feel.  Whether or not we consider ourselves environmentalists, global warming is about all of us.