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.
Risk: Greater storm risk Impact: Rising home insurance rates
Risk: Chaotic farming conditions Impact: More expensive groceries
Opportunity: Climate mitigation Impact: More green investment
Risk: Hotter temperatures Impact: A shifting retirement map
Risk: Chronic weather catastrophes Impact: Falling home values
Risk: More extreme weather Impact: More fortified houses
Risk: Seasonal changes Impact: More allergies and bug bites
Risk: Hotter climate Impact: Heat- related ailments
Risk: Rising ozone levels Impact: Increased lung disease
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.