The question of what to do about global warming has always been a difficult one to answer. It’s a problem caused by a myriad of factors, many of which lie beyond the power of the average citizen to affect. Deliberate and accidental inaction to avoid destabilizing our climate have led us to the point where “What can we do?” is a simpler question to answer than it used to be.
When it comes to changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere, our options as individuals are still pretty limited, but we’re no longer facing a question of if the climate will warm. The climate is warming, and the evidence indicates that it will continue to do so for the rest of our lives. What, then, can we do about it?
When the warnings about global warming first came out, we had time to work to change our energy infrastructure, and to avoid destabilizing our climate. The same is true now, at a smaller level. For most of us, the worst effects of climate change aren’t here yet. They’re coming, and they’re coming soon, but we’ve got just a little breathing space. We can use that for preparation to reduce the harm to ourselves and to others when the shit really hits the fan.
2016, as an El Niño year, gave us a glimpse of one of the dangers waiting over the horizon. As temperatures rise, ecosystems all over the planet are creeping into new territories, and that includes changes in location and behavior of diseases. PNAS has just published a study from the University of Liverpool that concluded that the El Niño conditions of this past year played a key role in the Zika Virus outbreak: