Don’t Forget to Wear Sunscreen

A recent article in The Guardian has taken a rather unconventional approach to educating the public about climate change. Instead of presenting the data and explaining its significance, the article offers “10 tips on how to prepare for an apocalyptic future”.

1. Stay cool and dry. Given the growing frequency of droughts, flooding, and extreme weather events, prepare for everything at once. Make sure all leaks in your roof are fixed, the AC unit is in prime working order, and a stable source of water is available.

2. Move. Right, so maybe this step should’ve come first. Given sea level rise projections, coastal and low-lying areas may well end up underwater by the end of the century. So either head for the hills or invest in a houseboat.

3. Adapt. The government must take steps to reduce emissions and mitigate damages from freak storms like Hurricane Sandy.

4. Tend your garden. On the plus side, more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means a longer growing season and a more efficient plant growth. On the minus side, you might be faced with water shortages and/or flash floods. Also, as oceans continue to acidify, fish and shellfish might drop off the menu.

5. Take a shower. Paraphrasing won’t do this point any justice. “Prepare for droughts not just once a decade but perhaps every other year. Get used to yellow lawns, taking showers with chums and watering your garden with waste water.”

6. Donate. Poorer nations already facing social or environmental hardships will undoubtedly be hit the hardest. Low-lying nations such as Bangladesh and Pacific islands such as Vanuatu will largely be flooded by rising oceans.

7. “Get a spanner”. I must admit that this is a British word I am not acquainted with.

8. Watch your health. Warmer climates are a recipe for increased rates of heart and lung diseases. Infections currently limited to tropical climates such as malaria will spread. Overwhelmed sewer systems may cause cholera and typhus.

9. Don’t get angry. “Life in many of the world’s cities is already nearly unbearable in some months. The scorching urban nights expected with climate change will be a recipe for social disorder, ill–health and mass grumpiness. If there are water and power cuts, as expected, then get ready for migrations out of urban areas to cooler countryside. Best advice? Stay out of town.”

10. Prepare for the big burn. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

Cover photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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