What are the costs of our own national priorities?

In the United States, climate change ranked #5 on a Quinnipiac poll asking likely voters what their main national priorities were for the next election. Climate change sat behind the economy and jobs, healthcare, terrorism, foreign policy, and immigration with only 5% of voters seeing climate change prevention as a national priority for this election. On a global, national, and local level, climate change has wreaked havoc on our economy and environment, but per the Natural Resources Defense Council, on the path that we are on right now, things are only going to get worse and worse. By the year 2100, the NRDC estimates that the average global temperature increase would by a group devastating 13℉. This leads to the question; what are the costs of our national priorities?

Obviously, Democracy can fix it.

Wait. It isn’t that obvious.

Per the official United States Budget, our national attitudes towards energy and the Environment are totally reflected. It only accounts for 1% of our $3.8 trillion federal budget, in line with our voting priorities, explaining why the Military, the #1 priority for voters is the second largest expenditure. But by the year 2100, the costs of averting climate change damages on our country will be our largest expenditure, costing us an estimated $1.9 trillion annually. This estimate only scratches the surface and only accounts for the costs of natural disasters such as droughts, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes. But the United States and the developed world has the least to lose, but the most power in preventing environmental catastrophe.

Climate change is much more than an increased risk of natural disasters. Its impact on industry and the economy can affect much more than just our economy and where our tax dollars go. The non-monetary cost of climate change may even supersede the financial and economic consequences that come with it.

Priority Number One for the Developing world: Water

The increase risk and severity of natural disasters brought on by the consequences Climate Change means less money (of the already small amount of money) for water sanitation and public health in the developing world.

As land dwelling beings, humans underestimate the powers and of our planet’s great waters that cover 71% of our earth. All of Earth’s waters, from the ocean, to the fresh water we drink, give to our pets and crops have seemingly waged a war against humanities because of climate change. We can only win this war when all of humanity identifies the problem, and comes to a consensus to act on a solution. Here’s the problem, we face the challenge of both a shortage of fresh water, and an excess of ocean water. We rely on freshwater for all components of our modern civilization, hydration, agriculture, sanitation, and energy production, but for all the gifts water has granted us, the challenges may finish us.

Water challenges and their causes

  • Rising sea levels from retreating glaciers, due to greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide and Methane heating our atmosphere
  • Dwindling supply of fresh water from the irresponsible uses of water in both consumer and industrial use
  • Increased demand for water, from Earth’s rising population and increased temperature
  • The commodification of drinking water by the bottled water industry in the industrialized world

Although these challenges are rooted in deeply different and infinitely complex causes, all share one reason for human kind’s lack of action. It’s because all the political will by our global governments rely on the votes of citizens who simply have simply never been affected by the problems the developing world has been facing for the last century, and believe that there is an infinite supply of water, thanks to the commercialization of water. Longer typhoon seasons, oceans rising and intensifying damage caused by hurricanes, lack of clean water due to unpredictable weather patterns and severe droughts are manageable by most developed countries. Per a report by Peter Gleick from PACINST.org, by 2050, the amount of water related deaths, from increased natural disasters, and unsanitary drinking water will kill more people than every single war in recorded human history combined. Water has gone from being the source of life on earth to the greatest threat that faces humankind. 

Global political gridlock preventing progress

  • The developing world, which houses 5.9 out of the 7 billion people on our planet do not have the political power or money to vote in representatives to progress water.
  • Citizens of the developing world rely on the voting patterns of people who most of which have never experienced water shortages
  • Most the developing world and 84% of the entire world’s population have at one point dealt or are currently dealing with unpredictable weather patterns and shortages of fresh water.

The solution

We must respect water as the force that has allowed us life on earth, as well as a force that can end it all can make all the difference. Thinking globally and acting locally is a privilege citizens living in the developed world grossly neglect, per Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The developing world and the future of our environment relies on the global superpowers garnering the political will necessary produce legislation that can change the path of humanity, and the only way to do that is by voting in local legislators that support initiatives that prevent harmful practices by industry, and supporting initiatives that progress our work to prevent waterborne illnesses around the world.  Voting for the highest-level leadership position, such as president may be important, but we must not neglect the importance of participating in local elections, as the leaders work themselves to higher levels of government, it creates this is a huge reason why action on climate change remains so stagnant in political gridlock around the world. Be a representative of the priorities 5.9 billion people around the world have, and vote for policy that can change their lives while protecting the environment.

Reflection

Admittedly, in the process of researching, I found myself grossly underestimating my own power as a global citizen and the power of the world’s waters. Knowing that my vote can impact so many people motivates me to become more active in local campaigns. But in my research, I also felt a sense of hopelessness. If we haven’t solved this by now, when will it happen? Will it be too late? These feelings quickly vanished as I read about the amazing people who are utilizing the powers their entitled to in their democracies to change the world for those who will experience the bulk of the climate change damage. My hopelessness derived also from the fact that in the three presidential debates, climate change was Never. Brought. Up. Once. It is vital to make your voice heard on the local level for the domino effect to change our national and thus, global policies surrounding climate change. But first, we must enlighten all to the impending catastrophe 6/7 people on our planet have been and will be affected by.

Works Cited

Huntington, T.G. (U.S. Geological Survey) (March 2006). “Evidence for intensification of the global water cycle: Review and synthesis”. Journal of Hydrology319 (1–4): 83–95.

Hagemann, Steffen G.; Gebre-Mariam, Musie; Groves, David I. (1994). “Surface-water influx in shallow- level Archean lode-gold deposits in Western, Australia”. Geology. 22 (12)

Oppenheimer, Clive (2003). “Climatic, environmental and human consequences of the largest known historic eruption: Tambora volcano (Indonesia) 1815”. Progress in Physical Geography. 27 (2): 230–259.

Reassessing New World Populations at the Time of Contact; Henry F. Dobyns; Institute for Early Contact Studies, University of Florida at Gainesville; 1988; Pgs. 6-10, 25

Schwartzman, David W.; Volk, Tyler (1989). “Biotic enhancement of weathering and the habitability of Earth”. Nature. 340 (6233): 457–460.

Sagan, C.; G. Mullen (1972). Earth and Mars: Evolution of Atmospheres and Surface Temperatures.

Sagan, C.; Chyba, C (1997). “The Early Faint Sun Paradox: Organic Shielding of Ultraviolet-Labile Greenhouse Gases”. Science.

Watson, E. B.; Harrison, TM (2005). “Zircon Thermometer Reveals Minimum Melting Conditions on Earliest Earth”. Science.

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73 Comments » for What are the global ramifications to the climate change crisis on developed nations?
  1. ISBN says:

    Love the idea of climate change as a “war” we can win. Maybe this will convert those who currently think it doesn’t matter. Great essay.

  2. Joan G says:

    Very thoughtful essay! While I might not agree with the gloom-and-doom aspects, I think it was well-thought-out and very well done!

  3. Melinda Gray says:

    Interesting read.

  4. Florence schechter says:

    Well said

  5. Linda Rogers says:

    Well written. I appreciate your passion and dedication. Please keep fighting for our planet. There are a few suggestions I’d like to make to improve your essay so that it makes an even better impression as you share it more widely. Ask your Aunt Katie for my contact information. ~Linda R.

  6. Liz Chapin says:

    Excellent article!!!

  7. Jan Mathews says:

    I would like to use this with my middle school class–as an example of how to write an expository, referenced paper. Is there a way to access it not through fb? Social media and blogs are blocked by our district server.

  8. Annie Rose says:

    Beautifully written article, very informative and easy to understand

    • Mitch says:

      Sehr interessanter Service, der besonders kleinen Weentrreibebden eine Chance einräumt. Leider fehlen zur Zeit noch Angebote zum Bewerben von Textlinks und manche Kategorien sind noch nicht komplett.

  9. Nancy Strife says:

    Excellent, persuasive. We really need to step up our efforts to educate and inform our citizens about climate change, its causes and the urgency of action.

  10. Power to the global citizens…Very inspiring!

    • Ella says:

      So cute! You hate generalisations about the Dutch, all 16 million of them and follow it with a bunch of generalisationa about 300 million Americans. Hmmm, and they say the Dutch (!) aren’t hyri#potical&c8230;

  11. Mary Kornheisl says:

    Encouraged me to learn more about global effect of water and what we can do, prior only really thought about our own problems.

    • Abtorpie says:

      Awesome, I am happy to have been able to make that impact (:

      • Raynes says:

        Audacious… coming up. Lol. No coincidence that I am going back to by truest painting love, but deeper, and hopefully finding the words that match. Will copy the word out and post it over my desk. Cheers… from a Republican ev02;#8n3e&.*smiles* We are all wanting the good stuff.Janice Cartiers last blog post..

    • Mccade says:

      Ter um blog não é só postar coisas bonitinhas, interessantes que chamam atenção aos olhos e ponto final. Como você disse tem que ter com compromisso primeiro com você mesmo. De que adianta sair se traindo só pra ter um MEGA nome na &#&d#0;re2e828221; e ser famous se depois seu nome não vai valer nada? E é verdade, cada um tem sua personalidade, e o reconhecimento vem através disso.Tu fala bem, e bonito!

  12. G Helseth says:

    Well written & concise.

    • Jeneva says:

      I hae18&#n2v7;t checked in here for a while because I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are good quality so i guess I’ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend: )#)

  13. Pat Curran says:

    Well thought out essay on how we (in first world countries) neglect to act or even realize the crisis we are in regarding climate change and water. I agree with the author that using our vote to support those running for office at the local and state level who are aware of and involved in climate change initiatives, is a good start. Hopefully, the problem of climate change will be addressed in time.

    • Jaundalynn says:

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  14. Pete says:

    Interesting, but I disagree with the basic assumptions.

  15. Roger Torpie says:

    Impressive thoughts and thorough research backing your point. Well done.

  16. Karen Dziekonski says:

    Great points here, we all need to take climate change seriously starting now.

    • Katherine says:

      oh my god poppy has a face to die for and i really want to adopt her, but i already have 2 dogs…a jack russel and a mo.ngelr. but but but!!!!!

  17. K. Markey says:

    Well Written

  18. Rose Marie Brown says:

    Very thoughtful article.

  19. Suzanne Ketchum says:

    Excellent essay. Very scary to think about.I will keep supporting this cause.

  20. Nancy Durso says:

    Well written and persuasive. More people need to be made aware of the problems of global warming, especially those who make our laws….and, yes, it starts at the local level……so, yes, we have to get out and vote for those who understand the gravity of the situation for future generations.

    • Etta says:

      Also lieber Hendrik, weil Du es Dir so gerne wünschst schreibe ich jetzt mal was: dein blog ist sehr inentessart und ich verfolge ihn immer sehr gespannt. Es gibt viel zu lernen bei Dir. Seither trinke ich aber auch mehr…

  21. Ken Bzik says:

    Excellent and informative essay. I wish everybody would read and understand this narrative.

  22. Kitty says:

    Interesting piece!
    Kathleen Prager

    PS I taught your Uncle Matt in high school.

  23. Stephen LaPointe says:

    Nice job with this, very insightful, friend of your Cousin Stephen T Larkin.

  24. Kathleen Romeo says:

    Great essay!

    • Jaundalynn says:

      jelzem, tenyleg isteni a leves! viszont a chjli-olaiat friss chilibol keszitettem, mert nem volt itthon szaraz, es nem igazan mukodott a dolog: nem lett piros, mint a kepen, es mintha az olaj nem is vette volna at a chili csiposseget – csak az a falat csipett, amiben ott volt maga a chili drabka is. ez normalis, vagy en csinaltam vmit rosszul?

  25. M R Hetherington says:

    Very well-written and thoughtful. I hope this is a path you will follow in your career, as it seems like something you are passionate about.

  26. John Larkin says:

    Well written, a pleasure to read. I can agree with most of your arguments.

  27. Karen Plaza says:

    Well done!

    • Tuesday says:

      Yang ko marah sangat tu apa hal? Lantak dia la nak buat apj.a.a.ngan dia ftnah mak bapa ko sudahlah… Ketara sangat la yang ko ni pun otak tak betul.

  28. Tony Carlyle says:

    Great Essay!!! Some very valid points and well constructed piece here. It certainly is thought provoking on the subject matter. Nice job!!

  29. Rita Greenberg says:

    Very Impressive essay, Andrew. I am happy that so many people have read and responded to your words. Let’s hope that those in office will recognize and respond appropriately to this global problem. Stay committed and enthusiastic…we need the future generations to continue to voice their opinions and work for what is good for all of us.

  30. Marge Boyd says:

    Well written essay, informative and passionate
    argument, with our planet and its inhabitants at its ❤️ Marge

  31. Nichole Rages says:

    Great essay! I learned so much…and you have definitely inspired me to pay more attention.

    • Aundre says:

      « la géographie est sensée  » : oui, c’est vrai, mais là elle est &lb;poq&nasu;censée » décrire le monde réel… Enfin, elle est aussi censée tenir compte des représentations du monde…

  32. Kim Stein says:

    “I found myself grossly underestimating my own power as a global citizen”

    I love this Andrew. We all do underestimate the power we EACH have and this is a message we all need to hear! Thank you for your passion and dedication.

  33. Eric Z says:

    Excellent job!

    • Nevaeh says:

      Y cómo de puede afrontar un cambio de diseño (incluyendo cambio de etiquetas h1, h2, etc…) pero sin cambiar el contenido de tal forma que no ser pierda el poitoicnamsenio conseguido actualmente?Un saludo!P.D. = Sin cambiar urls

  34. Rosalie says:

    Great reflection; however it is important to note the differences between economic water scarcity and physical water scarcity. Additionally, water scarcity and drought is not a phenomenon specific to developing countries. California, USA, has dealt with these issues and have water usage concerns. I read of one landscaping business in California that no longer waters the grounds or plants flowers. Instead, this landscaping company spray paints the lawns of their customers green. You mentioned the impact of industrialization, but the same can be said about agricultural use. States such as Nebraska,Minnesota, and Iowa, are mass producers of corn. As you know, more land is sanctioned off for corn production than any for any other purpose in the entire USA! What this means is that vast areas of the USA which do not have substantial quantities of water, have water artificially brought into the environment. This playing of the weather changes the hydrological system and thus weather patters. Essentially making arid areas more humid and vice versa. Globalization and multi-national corporations are the most guilty (in my opinion). As long as we (Americans) continue to buy manufactured items and corn (and corn by-products) the problem of water scarcity will not correct itself. — Great Job! Very thought provoking 🙂

  35. birgitte jensen says:

    Great essay! Go get’em!

  36. emma says:

    Really good read! We as voters have to realize, and make use of our power, and also as consumers if we choose to hold our companies and banks accountable.

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