The Bigger Climate Picture

It’s really difficult to quantify some of the effects of climate change, but new research paints a clearer picture. Without action, there’s much more at stake for everyone, everyday.

“The relationship is really clear,” said Edward Miguel, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who has studied the issue. “Extremes in climate lead to more violence, more killing, more war, more land riots in Brazil, more sectarian violence in India. It’s pretty stunning how the relationship between climate and violence holds across the globe.”

The starting point is that heat makes people irritable. 

Researchers have found hot days linked to more angry honking in Arizona, and more road rage and car accidents in Spain. Scholars have done the math and found that on hot days a major-league baseball pitcher is more likely to retaliate for a perceived offense and deliberately hit a batter.

“High temperatures,” that study finds, are “lowering inhibitions against retaliation.”

On hot days, property crimes aren’t more common, but murders go up with the temperature. 

Likewise, researchers find that police officers are more likely to draw and fire their weapons during a training session conducted on a hot day.

In Tanzania in any season, elderly women are sometimes accused of witchcraft and hacked or beaten to death. Professor Miguel has found that unusual weather linked to climate change — either drought or heavy rainfall — is associated with a doubling in the number of these “witch” killings.

(via Temperatures Rise, and We’re Cooked)

Take A Different Approach With The Green Message

The Guardian’s Ben West makes a good point. Focus the conversation around the day-to-day things in people’s lives that can make an impact. While I do care about the withering glaciers, it’s easier to reach me with a simple message encouraging me to think before grabbing my keys every morning.

Amplify’d from

Campaigners should focus on things people care about, not polar bears and melting ice caps

A mother polar bear and her cub sleep near the ice outside Churchill, Canada

There’s another message we need to be much clearer on. Caring about climate change and moving beyond oil is about taking society forwards, not holding us back. It’s the price of your train ticket, the story of the former miner in south Wales with black lung disease, the reality of regions of the world torn apart by oil conflicts and of communities devastated by oil spills.

Action on climate change has the potential to mean a safer, cleaner and yes, more prosperous future for everyone – not just those who can afford locally sourced chicken and organic soya lattes.