Climate change will affect the world's poor more drastically than rich nations, but the rich will suffer too. For all of us, the world will become a much duller place.
Many of the impacts of global warming are not life-threatening for humans, but will reduce the quality of life. Dan Whipple writes, "A lot of these components?free-ranging wildlife, water to irrigate the golf course, coral reefs to explore while snorkeling?might indeed be things we could get along without, but they also represent things that make life varied and interesting."
Plant ecologist Nina Leopold Bradley has traced the seasonal behavior of 300 species of plants and animals in Wisconsin over 70 years, and notes that about half of them are being affected by global warming. Plants are blossoming earlier and birds are migrating sooner. Eventually they may become extinct.
Biologist Camille Parmesan has studied checkerspot butterflies in California, and found that they've become extinct in areas where they previously lived. The healthy populations of butterflies are now found farther north. She also found that 63% of the butterflies in Europe have shifted their ranges to the north by 20 to 140 miles.
In the future, we may live in a world without snorkeling, golf or butterflies.
When it comes to global warming, what we need right now is a miracle.
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