The effects of climate change are everywhere. Arctic and Antarctic ice is melting, leading to rising sea levels. The frequency and strength of storms is increasing, leaving destruction in their wake. And rainfall patterns are shifting, causing devastating droughts and floods.
As our climate breaks down, billions of people are already struggling to cope and it’s the poorest who are being hit hardest. Powerful cyclones have devastated the lives of millions of people in the Philippines. Forest fires in Russia and Europe have covered cities in thick polluting smoke. And closer to home, catastrophic floods have turned lives upside-down in Yorkshire, Somerset and Cumbria.
In drier, hotter conditions, wildfires rage out of control, reducing mighty forests to ash. The oceans are warming and the water is becoming more acidic, causing mass coral die-offs and the loss of breeding grounds for sea creatures. Delicate ecosystems that are home to insects, plants and animals struggle to adapt quickly enough to the changing climate, putting one million species at risk of extinction. That means our food security, health and quality of life are all under threat.
The state of the climate and the health of our planet’s living systems are intimately linked, and changes in one will radically affect the other.