AARP – Climate Change and you (a good synopsis targeting older Americans)

It is not unusual for AARP to have a good article in its monthly news bulletin. Its June, 2021 edition has a piece called: “Climate Change and You – Extreme Weather Is Affecting Older Americans’ Wealth, Health and Daily Life. How to Prepare This Summer and Beyond.” The article is written by David Hochman, Sari Harrar, Laura Petrecca and Brian Barth, but let me emphasize the beauty of the piece is it is geared to inform an audience that this problem is here now and is not just a future thing.

One of the key takeaways is a map that indicates “What’s the climate risk where you live?” The risk varies, so some areas are more prone to wildfire risk or water stress risk. Others are more subject to increased hurricane risk or sea level rise risk. While still others have more extreme rainfall or extreme heat risk. Or, some will have multiple sets of these risks. I mention this as too often naysayers will focus on sea level rise as its only risk.

The article is organized into Risk and Opportunity subsections beneath larger categories, so let me follow their lead noting the risk and impact, leaving you to read the supporting information. They also note a few things we can do to help on the remedial road, but acknowledge we need to do much more on a larger scale, which is beyond the scope of this article.

Your Finances

Risk: Greater storm risk Impact: Rising home insurance rates

Risk: Chaotic farming conditions Impact: More expensive groceries

Opportunity: Climate mitigation Impact: More green investment

Your Home

Risk: Hotter temperatures Impact: A shifting retirement map

Risk: Chronic weather catastrophes Impact: Falling home values

Risk: More extreme weather Impact: More fortified houses

Your Health

Risk: Seasonal changes Impact: More allergies and bug bites

Risk: Hotter climate Impact: Heat- related ailments

Risk: Rising ozone levels Impact: Increased lung disease

Your Lifestyle

Risk: Changing seasonal climates Impact: Tougher gardening conditions

Risk: Hotter weather and rising sea levels Impact: Lost travel opportunities

Risk: Heat and your air quality Impact: Becoming housebound

Risk: Shifting seasonal climates Impact: Birding flies away

What can you do to help?

Park the car (walk more)

Unplug electricity vampires (chargers, appliances, dormant wi-fi cords, etc.)

Eat less meat

Protect your home for less energy use

Discourage ticks and mosquitoes

Take heat and ozone warnings seriously

This piece is not intended to address systemic things needed like increased use of renewable energy, restoration of carbon eating fauna such as mangroves, sequoias and kelp or carbon removal or absorption technologies, etc. But, it does introduce this important topic in a different way to a group of people that needs to be more aware of climate change. Climate change does not limit its risk to our children and grandchildren – it impacts us older earthlings today.

10 thoughts on “AARP – Climate Change and you (a good synopsis targeting older Americans)

    • Well without a car, you are way ahead of the game. It is hot these days. Fortunately, I live with one mile of several stores, so can walk as needed. But, the number of walks are more measured this hot summer. Keith

  1. Remember, the whole an individual’s ‘carbon footprint’ and advertisements about we can do individually to mitigate climate change was a public relations campaign paid for by the transnational oil and gas companies to put off what was (and remains) actually needed: systemic change in energy production away from burning carbon. Not energy use. Production.

    The analogy to climate change from carbon is that the atmosphere is like a sink; every time we burn, we add in the analogy of a tiny fraction of water. No matter how much we cut back on adding water, no matter what measures we use to reduce that additional water, the sink is STILL going to overflow because the problem is not how much we add but that EVERYTHING we do adds water. Unless and until our energy production is based system wide on other forms of energy, climate change is going to continue at best unabated or increased as tipping points are reached (a tipping point is where the natural processes accelerate whatever the problem may be, in this case adding more carbon like the melting of permafrost or the slowing of the ocean currents or the loss of rain forest so that it cannot produce its own weather, and so on). The oil and gas companies have known this is the problem for over 70 years and governments for over 40. Voting for Republicans who take oil and gas money, who interfere with renewable energy projects, is the very worst thing any single individual can do.

    • Good points. One of the best documentaries on this subject is “Ice on Fire.” It talks of how to add less carbon and how to eliminate carbon. We need to accelerate these activities. The best thing about the AARP article was the matter of fact approach to an audience that needs to hear it.

  2. What a list! It gives a very good overview in a nutshell of the consequences of the changes. I love your suggestions. We can still make a change but we need to do it consequently.

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