Sample Paper on Social Implications of Climate Change
Much has been talked about climate change and its environmental impacts but as stated by Pope Francis, is also a political, economic and social issue. The most worrisome impacts though less talked about are that of the society. Climate change is a social issue to a big extent. The effects may not be felt now, but the rate at which human beings are emitting greenhouse gasses and the continued effects already set in motion is a danger to the society. As Pope Francis puts it, it is high time the developed countries pay their debt because the greatest impacts will be felt by the less advantaged groups and especially the developing countries. Climate change may especially have the greatest impacts on areas vulnerable to drought, the people living in poverty, the elderly and immigrant countries (Adger, 114).
The worst situation of some groups in our communities throughout the world has an even worse future in waiting. Small farmers already struggle to get a fair price for their products, protesting them against pests and weather and compete with large-scale monoculture agricultural systems to survive in the industry. Climate change poses worst problems due to effects like a shift in climate and agricultural zones, change in patterns of production as a result of high temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns. These changes have the potential of taking away main sources of income from the farmers and the entire community who sell fruits and vegetables of their labor. Small-scale agriculture is an important part of the society, and the effects of climate change threaten food security and increase in the global food prices (Wheeler, Tim, and Joachim 511).
Women, children and the elderly are vulnerable groups in the community and will become the most affected more so from climate change. In the rural areas in the developing countries, women and children have the responsibility of jobs like collecting firewood and water. With the decreased supply of these resources, these groups are forced to spend more time on such activities and have less time for other tasks. Also, the children and elderly are more susceptible to health-related effects of climate change like malnourishment, diseases associated with flooding and heat-related ailments among others and the situation is getting no better. Also, there are already witnesses of psychological and physical impacts among men and women due to increased pressure to provide.
Poverty and inequality which nations have been working to improve for years will only get worse with climate change. This is because the poor do not have resources to tackle impacts like extreme drought and flooding to make their lives better. Poor neighborhoods in cities are likely to suffer more from urban effects like pollution, increase in heat waves which will affect the cost of energy and waters quality, human comfort, and health in cities. Considering cities are more densely populated, these impacts will affect a larger population than in rural areas. In the United States, 80% of the population lives in the cities ( McAdam 20). According to most studies, urban cities including the US and especially the poor neighborhoods are at a higher risk of heat-related ailments which increase with the increase in temperatures.
The society is vulnerable in various ways if the situation is not reversed. Although most people that study climate change believe the process is irreversible, Pope Francis’ words bring hope to people’s minds. In his first major letter called Joy of the Gospel, he says, “Human Beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start” ( Layard 3).
Adger, W. Neil, et al. “Cultural Dimensions of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation.” Nature Climate Change 3.2 (2013): 112-117.
Layard, Richard. Happiness: Lessons from a new Science. Penguin UK, 2011.
McAdam, Doug. “Social Movement Theory and the Prospects for Climate Change Activism in the United States.” Annual Review of Political Science 20.1 (2017).
Wheeler, Tim, and Joachim Von Braun. “Climate Change Impacts on Global Good Security.” Science 341.6145 (2013): 508-513.