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Effects of Climate Change on People, Industry, Agriculture & Tourism

The effects of climate change can be seen in various parts of our society. One of the affected parts is agriculture. One of the ways agriculture may be impacted is due to changes in weather patterns. Changes such as rising temperatures have led to more extreme weather events, droughts in some areas, excessive precipitation in others, storms that are more frequent and destructive than before. These effects have caused damage to the agricultural infrastructure because certain crops need to be cultivated at certain temperatures, and will affect people who need these crops at the usual time of year. This also affects farmers, who now will face more financial burdens due to crop failures. Another consequence of the changing weather is higher risk of wildfires. Lack of precipitation can lead to droughts which in turn create perfect kindling for fires.[1] Farmers suffer financially due to these losses as well. In 2015, an estimated $633 to $733 million was lost from farmers in Washington due to drought.[2] Even though some of the losses were recuperated by insurance, many farmers do not have insurance which puts an even greater strain on them.

Another aspect of society that is impacted by climate change is industry and economic impacts. Increased struggles in agriculture and other industries can lead to a decline in GDP in countries all over the world. It would also result in increased prices for goods. For example, in Ethiopia there is a 28 percent cumulative likelihood that the annual yield of coffee would drop at or below 25 percent over the next decade. And by 2030, the likelihood of wheat farmers to face a 10 percent or greater drop in yield will increase by 11 percent. These two effects can lead to Ethiopia’s GDP growth to be cut by about three percentage points.[3] Given that Ethiopia is the fifth largest exporter of arabica coffee in the world[4], this can lead to the price of coffee being increased due to shortage. This shortage can affect farmers in Ethiopia just as the losses affected farmers in Washington. They would not be able to earn as much of an income which can lead to financial struggles.

Tourism is one of the biggest sources of income for many countries. Destinations such as Italy, Greece, the United States, and others have been impacted greatly by climate change. In Italy, tourists in Rome have had to leave early due to a heatwave in the U.S. and Europe in the summer of 2023. In Greece, Athens closed its most popular attraction, the Acropolis, due to temperatures reaching 113 degrees Fahrenheit. And in the United States, flights leaving Las Vegas have had to reduce the weight of the aircraft either by reducing passengers, baggage, fuel levels, or completely ground the flight until temperatures decrease.[5] But inconvenience is not the only problem climate change is causing. The more pressing issue this is causing is the desolation of biodiversity in certain destinations. For example, in Africa it is estimated by 2100 over half of bird and mammal species would be lost due to climate change, as well as many plant species. It will also cause a 20-30 percent drop of plant and animal life produced in lakes.[6] Nature based tourism is the biggest part of Africa’s tourism industry, like safaris. If so much natural life dies out due to climate change, tourism in Africa can take a massive downturn.

The effects of climate change on agriculture, industry, and tourism around the world have been acknowledged so far. But what about people? How will this affect us both physically and mentally? Well, in many different ways unfortunately. Higher temperatures can lead to death due to extreme heat and poor air quality. Diseases such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus have more time to spread due to the increasing average temperature.[7] In addition, people who experience climate disasters such as floods and wildfires first hand are more likely to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as anxiety and depression.[8] 

 

[1] “Climate Change Impacts on Agriculture and Food Supply.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 16 Nov. 2023, www.epa.gov/climateimpacts/climate-change-impacts-agriculture-and-food-supply.

[2]“The Economic Impact of Climate Change on Northwest Farms.” USDA Climate Hubs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, www.climatehubs.usda.gov/hubs/northwest/topic/economic-impact-climate-change-northwest-farms. Accessed 23 Mar. 2024.

[3]Woetzel, Lola, et al. “How Will African Farmers Adjust to Changing Patterns of Precipitation?” McKinsey & Company, McKinsey & Company, 18 May 2020, www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/sustainability/our-insights/how-will-african-farmers-adjust-to-changing-patterns-of-precipitation.

[4] “Ethiopia: Coffee Annual.” USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, 19 May 2023, fas.usda.gov/data/ethiopia-coffee-annual-8.

 

[5] Shine, Ian. “Rising Global Temperatures Are Already Affecting the Tourism Industry – Here’s How.” World Economic Forum, World Economic Forum, 14 Aug. 2023, www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/08/temperatures-tourism-climate-impact/.

 

[6] “This Is What It’s All about: Protecting Biodiversity in Africa.” World Bank, World Bank Group, 14 Feb. 2019, www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2019/02/14/biodiversity#:~:text=It%20is%20estimated%20that%20by,significant%20loss%20of%20plant%20species.

 

[7] “Climate Impacts on Human Health.” US EPA, US Environmental Protection Agency, climatechange.chicago.gov/climate-impacts/climate-impacts-human-health#:~:text=A%20warmer%20climate%20is%20expected,threaten%20human%20health%20and%20safety. Accessed 23 Mar. 2024.

 

[8] Padhy, Susanta Kumar, et al. “Mental Health Effects of Climate Change.” Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4446935/.

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