We’ve all accepted that climate change is a thing, right? This usually isn’t the highest issue on my list of concerns only because those left who don’t believe in climate change are impossible to argue with. I’ve always said, you can show a person all the science and proof the grass is green, but it they believe it’s purple, there’s nothing more you can do. As I see violent swings in temperature and horrendously strong stores (both of which are weather, not be to confused with climate) I wonder if those things have become the norm. My biggest concern when it comes to climate change is not if humanity will survive, but who will survive.
I’m a bit of an optimist, so I am sure humanity will survive whatever climate change brings. Some areas of the world will become drier, some wetter. Other areas will experience more extremes between summer and winter. Eventually, things will become bad enough that the governments of the world – or at least some of them – will act. There are some who believe it’s already too late to act, and maybe it is. Maybe it’s already too late to stop climate change, but it’s not too late to prepare.
Human kind is a very adaptable race. We now live in a unique age where we control so much of how we grow and evolve. Technology is being developed at an ever-increasing rate. That, I believe, will be our salvation. Even if the environment gets to the point where we literally can’t survive in it, I’m sure we can develop enclosed, climate controlled living areas for ourselves. The Earth will look like Sci-Fi images of humans living on Mars. The question that often haunts me, though, is who will make it into those man-made environments. Will they be the people we need?
The answer is quite simple, really. The rich will survive and the poor will be left to the elements. I’m sure it will happen slowly and maybe it’s already begun. Just look at this Ebola outbreak we have going on in Africa right now. I’m sure an Ebola outbreak in the United States would not be anything less than devastating, but we do have the infrastructure, medical technology and hygienic knowledge to survive. Those are not things that they have in Africa. Despite the efforts of doctors trying to help, every news story I hear is about Ebola’s spread.
I am by no means saying that Ebola has anything to do with climate change. I only mean to show just who will suffer first. If we see the climate change more dramatically than people can adapt to, it will be the people most exposed to the elements, those who can’t afford to escape them, that pay the price first. Sometimes, I wonder if that will be the sign for the industrialized world to act. Once climate change becomes so dramatic that those in the 3rd world literally starts dying, I’m sure someone will stand up. Someone will say it’s time to act – not to save those already suffering – but to save themselves and their own country from suffering.
How will that really go, though? Will there be a division of class within those rich countries that decides who lives or dies? Will you or I be able to afford the necessary technology in a world modified by human action?
There are those who think climate change will start to severely affect the Earth in our lifetimes, but I’m not sure. I mean, we might see more floods, droughts and such, but that’s not the same as needing the abandon an area due to a changed climate. Honestly, I think if we really work on it, we won’t need to build ourselves artificial environments to live in. Even if we do need to build that, it may not be necessary in our lifetimes.
Still, my mind wonders about the human cost. While others worry about plants and animals that might go extinct, pollution or rising ocean levels, I worry about who will survive. Human kind will survive whatever plague and whatever environmental change (though our number might be severely decreased), that I am sure. Yet, who among us will be able to afford our survival. Will it be the people we need to continue on? What cultures, ideas and technologies will be lost because the people who used once held them couldn’t afford what was necessary?
Do you believe climate change is happening? How much has human action contributed to the effect? How long do you think it will be before human survival is threatened? Assuming climate change is or becomes irreversible, do you think humankind has what it takes to survive?