IS CLIMATE CHANGE A SOCIAL ISSUE?
Climate change has been regarded as the Earth’s main environmental threat. This global phenomenon is marked by changes in the planet’s natural climate triggered mainly by human activities. It manifests in various forms, such as deadly heat, wilder weather, and melting snowcaps.
However, climate change is not only a scientific issue, but it also has several social impacts. Keep on reading to learn more about the social issues that result from global climate change.
Forced Migration of Entire Communities
Climate change causes rising sea levels, severe droughts, and heavy rainfall, all of which place pressure on resources. Because of these reasons, many vulnerable communities, such as small island developing states (SIDS), will be forced to relocate.
For instance, in early 2014, seawater started to flood residents’ homes in Vunidogoloa, Fiji. This led to the relocation of the affected settlements 1 km inland as part of the country’s climate change policy. As Fiji battles with rising sea levels and severe floods, it is estimated that 34 more villages will be relocated. Another extreme case is for the island nation of Kiribati. Since the increase in sea level is projected to make this tiny Pacific island state uninhabitable, the country recently purchased land in Fiji for relocation.
These effects of climate change will uproot and permanently alter cultures and lifestyles that have existed for hundreds of years.
Negative Impact on the Availability of Food and Water
The availability, access, and use of food and water are under serious strain due to the consequences of climate change, such as increasing temperatures and the increased frequency of extreme weather events.
Climate change is expected to result in extreme regional water shortages, according to widely held forecasts. Over a billion people in Asia are projected to be affected by freshwater scarcity due to climate change by 2050. Furthermore, climate change is expected to expose a large population in Africa, ranging from 75 million to 250 million, to increased water stress.
As water stress worsens, volatile agricultural productivity, biodiversity loss, and degraded habitats are expected. The implications of climate change for agricultural product supply are decreased crop production, rising pest problems and plant diseases, and reduced soil quality. Global food prices in recent years have been negatively impacted by shrinking food production caused by droughts in places like China, Brazil, and Kenya, as well as floods in Pakistan, Columbia, and Australia.
As a result of the limited supply and intensified competition for water and food supplies, climate change can also lead to internal and external social tensions worldwide.
Climate change is not only a scientific issue, but it can negatively impact society as well. This global phenomenon can force entire communities to relocate and affect the supply of food and water worldwide. Given that climate change also has societal implications, new and current strategies must take a systemic approach that cuts through disciplines and industries to mitigate its adverse effects.