Leave it to the British to find the bright side of global warming. The rise in temperature, UK researchers claim, will result in fewer cold-weather deaths, a tragedy that claims nearly 20,000 annually. Proof of this is found in the data, which shows a decrease of 3 percent since 1971. As the Earth continues to warm, winter deaths will continue to fall, so in that sense, global warming IS a good thing . . . but unfortunately, only in that sense.
Between now and 2017, south-east England will quite likely experience an out-of-season heat wave that will claim 3,000 lives immediately. When summer hits, 3,000 more will die. Moreover, as the air’s ozone levels continue to rise, breathing and lung problems will escalate. Skin cancer will become a more prevalent concern (as if it weren’t enough of one already) and bacteria in our food and water, courtesy of the warm, wet weather, will abound. The lives that are saved by the mild winters will be counterbalanced by those that are claimed by heat, cancer and infection.
We can’t stop working to turn the Earth’s health around. We have to continue recycling, reducing and reusing. We have to find new ways every day to minimize our carbon footprint. There are opportunities everywhere. Take, for example, the Clif Bar you’re currently munching. TerraCycle is now offering 2 cents for every Clif Bar wrapper you collect (you have to sign up first), so that they can turn them into funky eco-cessories, reducing the amount of wrappers that end up in landfills each year. And they aren’t stopping at Clif Bars; Nature Valley and PowerBar wrappers are accepted as well. If you don’t eat energy bars but gobble up tubs of yogurt and gallons of juice, TerraCycle is collecting yogurt containers and drink pouches. Sounds good, and easy, to me.