You can hardly turn on the news these days without hearing about a weather disaster or climatological catastrophe taking place somewhere in the world. The list of potential climate-related hazards is long and frightening to anyone who is paying attention.
These are just a few examples of the climate events we face with increasing frequency and intensity:
- Hurricanes or Typhoons
- Mud or Landslides
- Blizzards or Snow Storms
- Storm Surges
Each extreme weather event is a potential example of the growing concern over the Earth’s fragility and the role man is playing in the planet-wide changes that are taking place. Now is the time when people need to begin considering the financial ramifications of our dynamically changing world, and these are some of the preparations you need to make:
How Vulnerable Are You?
Believe it or not, where you live plays a significant role in how well protected you are. People who live near the ocean face the most significant degree of risk from wind and water-driven events such as hurricanes, typhoons, tidal waves, flooding, and tsunamis. Those are not the only areas at risk, however. People who live near volcanoes, even dormant or “inactive” volcanoes, also face huge risks when the world begins protesting in louder and more spectacular ways.
People living in areas prone to earthquakes and wildfires are also at high risk. The problem with climate change on the scale of current projections is that we may have only seen a glimpse of the damage that humankind may experience. People living in vulnerable areas stand to face higher risks as the damage to the planet continues.
Impact on Insurability
Insurance against certain events is already becoming impacted by rising premiums. Since 1968, the government has stepped in to start the National Flood Insurance Program because insurance companies found it to be too costly for them to ensure homeowners and businesses against floods.
Warnings exist. According to The Guardian, with the rise in death and destruction from climate-related disasters, costs will rise for consumers purchasing insurance. The prices of California wildfires cost insurers over $24 billion. That does not even count the human costs. As natural disasters continue and rise, prices will increase to the point that many low and moderate-income consumers will no longer be able to purchase insurance.
Other Areas at Risk
Economically, areas that experience more considerable upheaval due to climate change, such as drought-stricken areas, wildfire-ravaged areas, and hurricane or flood-devastated areas, face huge losses from people choosing to rebuild elsewhere. U.S. News reports that the economic losses of drought and water shortages could be as high as $180 billion.
Not only will people exit these profoundly affected areas, but property values will also become unsustainably high, jobs will evacuate for greener pastures, as will the industries that support these people and communities. Utility bills will likely soar as temperatures in some areas become warmer, and the strain on the electrical grid grows. It would be best if you were financially prepared for these changes before it’s too late.
Making a Personal Impact
Aside from setting aside extra money to account for rising costs associated with climate change, there are other changes you can make now that will have an impact on your future and, perhaps, the future of the planet.
- Begin investing now in planet-friendly and ethical initiatives and organizations.
- Build up an emergency fund for climate change events affecting you.
- Keep insurance plans up-to-date and robust.
- Plan your retirement inland rather than near the ocean. The oceans pose the greatest risk for things to fall apart.
- Consider living in a less populated area with green spaces for growing food and, if necessary, fishing and hunting.
- Reduce your personal carbon footprint. Rather than waiting for the government to act, make your own greener choices to live a more sustainable life.
- Educate others on why you are making these planet-friendly decisions and encourage them to do so as well.
- Write to the businesses you frequent and encourage them to do the same.
The more people who speak up and choose green lives, the less we need to rely on the government to make the necessary changes.
Climate change is changing the world as we know it, in potentially terrifying and costly ways — the more people that get on board, the better. Financial preparations can spare you some pain of climate change, but only if you act quickly.