How Warmer Temperatures are Keeping People Poor

by Seth Berger

With climate change becoming a more imminent threat than ever, understanding this global issue as well as the size of our carbon footprint on Earth has become something of paramount importance. With that being said, it is equally critical that we understand the implications that this natural phenomena can have on our society. One such consequence is poverty. Not only does humanity’s actions plunder our world, it jeopardizes the well being of those on the bottom of the spectrum for financial stability. The planet is giving us an ultimatum, one that warns us of how little time we have left.

Just as climate change affects the natural environment, it affects our economy as well, adding tension to the environment. In recent years, natural disasters such as Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico have been devastating, killing nearly 3000 people and destroying whole villages. Issues such as these are largely due to the effect of climate change. Climate change pushes people into poverty as a result of these disasters, as they lose not only their living space, but also basic necessities in life such as clean air, food, and water. Particularly, those that were poor in the first place received the short end of the stick, as they did not have insurance to cover them when disaster struck.

In addition, climate change disrupts the lives of those that heavily rely on the weather and temperature. In Niger, farmers have a hunger gap —a time where they are low on resources and the next harvest is not in yet — that is increasing by the year. This is due to an increase in temperature, which subsequently extends the “dry season”, where they are unable to grow the crops they need to. Though a seemingly subtle difference, the impact of global warming is continually growing in communities such as these.

So what/future implications?

Climate change is invisible. It is nearly impossible to see the effects in your day to day life, and many people are not directly affected by it in any way. What is important to understand, however, is that the people that are farmers, fishers, and manual laborers take the brunt force of the effects of climate change. These people are the cornerstone of our society, and without them, our economy will not function. It is of vital importance that we understand the fragility of our society, and how seemingly unrelated issues could have a lasting impact on the world.