An unseasonably hot day that scientists attribute to climate change can be either a drag or a benefit depending upon where you live and the time of year. The same goes for an extraordinary dump of snow that creates snow days out of work schedules and keeps kids at home when you're not prepared. But climate change has delivered other headaches over the past year that ultimately translate to extra costs for households and will likely impact our wallets in future years, as well.
And of course, if it's more expensive for the consumer to buy those almonds, ground coffee, chicken or beef products, we'll notice it when we pay the restaurant bill or buy a cup of joe at the local convenience store as well. According to the Climate Institute, climate change is a real threat to that morning cuppa. The good news, is the coffee industry is already looking at new technology and mitigation methods to combat some of those stifling effects of climate change.
For some cities that industry is already facing threat from global warming in the form of rising tides and potential droughts. Areas around Astoria have already begun looking at mitigation to save the beaches that draw in travelers during the summer months. Island Press points out that about two-thirds of the forests in the Northwest serve as destinations for tourists year-round and can be at risk from global warming, flooding and other environmental problems. As small Northwest lumber towns learned early on in their development, what happens in the forest often impacts the cost of living and jobs in the towns that rely upon them.
But that challenge also means that there's increasing opportunities for innovation. In the UK and some parts of the U.S. and Canada, tidal energy is making use of the changing climate to improve energy production for nearby communities. In some areas, that innovation may mean more costs in taxes, but it also means more opportunities for better energy production for future generations.
Mitigation usually means higher taxes and cost of living for homeowners who ultimately bear part of the price tag of the upgrades. And those costs may mean a reduction or change in other services in their area that are sacrificed to cover the cost of mitigation.
Climate change will offer numerous challenges for communities over the coming decades. But it also offers the impetus to innovate and to work in hand with the environment for a more sustainable planet.
Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.