Sustainability & Climate Change Issue Update: Is it Hot in Here?

I’m back. I spent over a month on the road with HeadCount this summer. But in the sweltering summer heat, I never forgot about climate change. Neither has the media. I just came across the top 5 disappearing destinations, an unfortunate but great list to keep in mind when thinking of your next majestic travel spot. Scientific American also published their top 10 places already affected by climate change and a slideshow to allow better visualization of the areas. Here’s more:

  • I know I have felt the affects of the heat wave in the U.S. this summer - but regrettably, so has the Arctic, which is on course for a record melt. Also in Arctic news, polar bear cubs are dying as their swims get longer due to the rapidly melting ice. Talk about heartbreaking! In my opinion, very few baby animals compare in cuteness to a polar bear cub, and these longer swims increase their mortality to 45 percent.
  • The world will continue to see more of a water crisis with the warming of temperatures. According to one report, 47 percent of people on Earth will be affected by water shortage by 2030. What could this lead to? How about “water wars”? But with effective response, the UN says the world could avoid “escalating conflicts, tensions and insecurity related to a changing climate”.  Take a look at the world’s most water stressed countries (PHOTOS).
  • Fortunately, many cities are working to identify water-related climate change threats. Some cities are already winning praise for developing comprehensive action plans. New York has a comprehensive plan to confront these issues, as the average sea level rise by the 2020’s could be 2 to 5 inches. New Orleans is working to entirely rebuild its city’s defense with their master plan, which implements what they learned from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.
  • With the Gulf Coast still recovering from the BP oil spill disaster, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Enforcement and Regulation (BOEMRE) has given conditional approval for Shell to drill in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea next year. Overseas, Shell is currently dealing with a mess in the North Sea, which really provides me with confidence in their ability to drill in the Beaufort Sea where they claim there's no risk for spillage. Isn’t it interesting how quick we are to forget major (recent!) catastrophes? Feel like you need a road map? The energy challenges ahead might require one.
  • Some think the answer to our energy challenges is nuclear. Others, including Jason Mraz and Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine) disagree. They joined classic rockers Crosby Stills & Nash, The Doobie Brothers and Bonnie Raitt at a MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) benefit concert in California, to benefit non-nuclear organizations and Japan disaster relief. It’s been 32 years since some of those legends took the stage for the historicNo Nukes” concert.

Having camped at most of the summer festivals, it has definitely reminded me (oofta!) that we already have enough heat. Don’t be discouraged, concerned citizens, hope comes in the form of new fuel economy standards recently proposed by the President. Until next time, stay sustainable!