The recent awakening of anthrax from melting Russian permafrost is just a preview of what future could hold for us — more heat, more melting, more zombie viruses. That’s what’s in store for millennials and their kids.
It won’t be the Silent Generation or baby boomers who will suffer the worst of climate change. It will be millennials and the generations to come. So it’s no surprise that they worry about climate change more than their parents.
1. Waterfront property. Meh.
We’ve all dreamed of owning a house by the beach and basking in the beautiful sun. But if we continue to emit carbon dioxide at the current rate, sea levels could rise drastically by the end of the century. This means cities like Miami and New Orleans could be completely flooded. Unless you’d like to snorkel in your basement, owning beachfront property won’t be all that it’s cracked up to be. And beaches aren’t going to be any fun, either. Shrinking coastlines and rampant shark attacks? No thank you.
2. So. Hot.
Did you almost melt during this summer’s heat wave? It could be like this a lot more often. Last year surpassed 2014 as the hottest year on record around the world and 2016 is very likely to become the hottest year measured yet. The average American could experience almost an entire month or two of temperatures above 95°F by mid-century. We’re talking cooking-steak-under-the-Arizona-sun kind of heat.
3. You won’t be able to take electricity or Wi-Fi for granted. Or roads for that matter.
Climate change will place immense stress on our infrastructure. Extreme heat will create a huge strain on our electric grid, which isn’t young anymore. Superstorms like Sandy or Katrina and the catastrophically heavy rainfall like we witnessed in Louisiana and Ellicot City can wipe out the supply of electricity and drinking water. And if you think that’s something you could live without… there’s also a huge chance the internet could go away for days or months. Which means you may not be able to Snapchat your woes. The horror!
4. Climate change is coming for your wallet
If we continue business as usual, a 21-year-old graduate today could lose $126,000 in lifetime income! That’s enough to buy 8,400 Nic Cage pillowcases. But say goodbye to your dreams of owning them. If a millennial decides to give birth to tiny millennial offspring — apparently a bad idea anyway in the age of climate change — their children could lose out on a lot, lot more lifetime savings.
5. Want to travel around the world? Yeah, no.
Traveling around the world will be less fun in the future. Some of the world’s most gorgeous heritage sites are at risk from climate change. Other destinations may become less safe as global warming exacerbates conflict risk. Breathtaking landscapes such as the Marshall Islands are disappearing because of rising seas. Staycations will become the hottest thing to do in the coming decades, guaranteed.
So… how about we just act on climate change instead? Imagine living in a world where we’re excited about our future instead of worrying about the worst-case scenarios — where we plan our next vacation to a beautiful island that didn’t drown from rising sea levels as we zoom around in electric vehicles powered by clean energy? Oh, and getting to print our personal robot companions. Definitely them.