How to prepare for the most immediate consequences of climate change

If it was not already convinced by the epic snowstorm, the fatal heat dome, the horrific floods, the apocalyptic fires and the horrific 2021 IPCC report, let us clarify one thing: climate change is here, now, today. Even if we all become zero carbon emissions overnight – impossible – the climate will still continue to change. And while it is important to continue to fight, lobby and make lifestyle changes to reduce the impact of climate change, it is also important to recognize that our planet has changed irreversibly and that each of us must to learn how to adapt.

The biggest challenge to learning to live in a new climate is that there is so much uncertainty about what will happen, to whom and when. “Climate change will cause mass migration and economic disruption,” said John Rami, founder of The Prepared, a website focused on preparation. “What will happen when millions of homes are lost, people move, food and water are scarce and entire economic sectors fail?” No one knows the answer to this question, much less whether it is guaranteed that everything will happen. , but here’s a hint: Even a small part of it will be bad and you’ll be glad you read and accepted the advice in this article.

And if you’ve seen spam boxes in the grocery store, keep in mind that you’re not alone. According to a FEMA study, there has been a recent increase in preparation – from 3.8% of US households in 2017 to 5.2% in 2019. Rami predicts that after the double blow of a pandemic and ongoing climate disasters, that number could now be as high as 10 percent. “The climate crisis is one of the biggest reasons for the huge growth in today’s preparatory community,” Rami said. that the world will burn in their lifetime. “

When we hear the word preparation, most of us immediately think of a man with a long beard who lives in a hut in the woods, collects weapons and “tactical” equipment and eats beans every day for lunch. Or a billionaire from Silicon Valley with a concrete fortress built to withstand nuclear war (with a bowling alley, because, you know, the apocalypse is getting very boring). “The media likes to point out extreme characters and stories, like a madman who wraps his whole house in the suburbs in foil or moves to the woods to teach his young children how to shoot,” Rami said. “These people are no more representative of the cooks than the Kardashians are of the Californians. Basically, preparation simply means taking action to prepare for the worst case scenario. It is likely that you are already doing some form of preparation, whether it is buying life insurance or installing a smoke alarm in your home.

While there may be no exact plan for what climate change will do to each of our lives, experts have some solid assumptions that, combined with good old common sense, can help each of us prepare for our new lives. normal. “I can’t tell you when you will be affected by a climate disaster,” said David Pogue, a technical journalist and author of How to prepare for climate change. “But I can tell you he will come sooner or later.”

Natural disasters caused by climate

The evidence is clear: climate change is making natural disasters more frequent, more severe and more expensive. “We’re getting terrible heat waves and crazy snowstorms, devastating droughts and historic torrential rains, floods and water shortages,” Pogue said. “Everything changes at once: oceans, atmosphere, plants, animals, perpetual freezing, weather, seasons, insects, people.” Since your risk of a natural disaster depends entirely on where you live, the most important thing is to understand what disasters you may personally face (and don’t just rely on what disasters you’ve encountered in the past – that’s not an accurate estimate anymore). You can do this by researching the emergency preparedness tips of your city or county and making sure you understand the basics of surviving an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire. Pog says that no matter where you live, you need to make sure that the owner’s or tenant’s insurance covers the disasters you are at risk of. He also points out that you do not have to live on the coast to be at risk of floods, and homeowners’ insurance does not cover floods. Once your insurance is settled, he suggests that you prepare for two weeks without water, food or electricity, pack a “bag” to keep you out of your home for a few days, and make a plan with your family about where to meet. if the cell towers do not work. His last piece of advice is the simplest: download the Red Cross Emergency app. It’s free and will give you early warning of disasters. “The most tragic way to die in a fire, flood or hurricane is at home, because you never got the word to evacuate.

Breakdown of the supply chain and food shortages

Whether or not you agree with experts who say that climate change could lead to a social collapse in the style of the Roman Empire, it is clear that shortages and supply chain disruptions are on the warmer horizon. As Covid-19 has shown us, these disturbances can affect everything from medical supplies to car parts to finding a winter coat. But the most worrying shortage we face is access to food and water. A 2019 UN report warns of an impending food crisis, and drought is already threatening 40 percent of the world’s population, according to the WHO, and more than 80 million people in the United States, according to the US government’s drought information system. New document published in Progress in nutrition suggests that climate change will lead to higher food prices, greater food insecurity and may lead to micronutrient deficiencies in more people. While you may not be able to do much to influence the global food chain, you can start in your own backyard by planting a fruit tree or starting a garden, learning how to grow climate-friendly vegetables and making sure your closet is fully stocked with two weeks of water and food, along with all the necessary medical supplies. It is also important to assume that you will not have a warning before food and water shortages, according to Rami, so do not delay stocks until it is too late.

To become sustainable together

Sustainability may be an overused term when talking about climate change, but most of us are sorely lacking in how prepared we are to take care of ourselves, our loved ones and our property if emergency workers are unable to help us. . Only half of Americans can perform CPR, only 17 percent know how to light a fire, and only 14 percent feel confident in their ability to identify edible plants and fruits. Basic skills – such as learning how to work with a two-way radio, knowing the smartest way to evacuate your city or neighborhood, or being able to change a bicycle tire – may sound simple, but it can be the difference between life and death. in distress.

Perhaps the most effective way to take care of yourself is to get closer to others. According to FEMA, 46 percent of people expect to rely heavily on people in their neighborhood for help in the first 72 hours after a disaster. “Training is not a lone wolf’s job,” says Rami. It is important that your immediate neighbors know your name and who is in your family – including pets – so that they can inform first aid in the event of an earthquake or fire. In the event of a supply chain disruption, your neighbors may be your only access to vital supplies such as batteries or extra diapers. Building connections in your local community is also a great way to build an informal network of services, because who knows when you may need help with an injury or home repair. As Rami says, “The community wins in 99 percent of situations.”

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