What does the future hold? Many people have held this question throughout history.
Residents of long-dead states had to face a world in which their communities and families could be reduced to slavery or dust. Warfare, genocide and societal collapse have been common themes in all regions at some point in their history.
Alongside that, many soapboxes have been the pulpits of preachers who spoke of the coming of revelations at the hands of an angry god or some other supernatural force.
Remember December 21, 2012, when the world would end because of a supposed prophecy by the Maya calendar? Of course, that didn’t happen — not to mention the Maya didn’t even say it would.
The infamous doomsday clock was recently pushed to the closest to midnight it’s ever been. While doomsday predictions are alive as ever, they are not the source of many people’s current uncertainty.
Whether you deny it or accept it, man-made climate change is something undoubtedly familiar to the average politically-engaged American.
Numerous points can be made about fossil fuel usage, carbon emissions, melting ice caps, tropical deforestation and many other factors.
Climate change is happening at a relatively fast rate, it’s man-made and climate change denial is promoted by the fossil fuel industry.
A poll by the Climate Advocacy Lab found that over 70% of Generation Z sees climate change as their most important issue and almost half see its effects as inevitable. Another poll by Pew Research Center found that many Americans believe climate change will personally harm them.
Climate change isn’t something for the distant future, it is already in progress. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2022 was the sixth-warmest year on record, while 2020 was the warmest. The United States Geological Survey found that droughts are becoming longer, while tropical storms are becoming more severe.
Specific disasters are often influenced by multiple factors but climate change has played a role. In fall 2022, according to The Guardian, China was struck by the worst heatwave in its recorded history. The southwest United States and Mexico are facing a looming water crisis caused by climate change and other man-made environmental issues.
While the current climate change is happening relatively fast on a geological scale, it still seems slow to most of us who take our lives day by day and week by week.
Polls don’t seem to focus as much on how climate change and other issues have influenced individual’s specific life decisions — careers, marriage, starting families, where to live — but it would be foolish to say it hasn’t.
That leaves the questions: What will you do? How will climate change affect your life?