Nicola Jones, Redrawing the Map: How the World’s Climate Zones Are Shifting, Yale Environment 360, October 23, 2018
Are they really shifting?
As human-caused emissions change the planet’s atmosphere, and people reshape the landscape, things are changing fast. The receding line of Arctic ice has made headlines for years, as the white patch at the top of our planet shrinks dramatically. The ocean is rising, gobbling up coastlines. Plants, animals, and diseases are on the move as their patches of suitable climate move too.
Sometimes, the lines on the map can literally be redrawn: the line of where wheat will grow, or where tornadoes tend to form, where deserts end, where the frozen ground thaws, and even where the boundaries of the tropics lie.
Through the WI Lens
As Well Intelligence has argued on many occasions, rising global temperatures will have (sooner than most business executives realize) a dramatic impact on the wellness industry by altering climatic zones around the planet. The consequences for food and water security, local economies and public health will be significant.
This article takes a stark look at some of the distinct features that are already on the move by highlighting some of the less known features that have shifted in the face of climate change. Some insights: (1) In the US, plant hardiness zones are moving north at 13 miles per decade and “Tornado Alley” has shifted 500 miles east in 30 years; The Sahara desert has gotten 10 percent bigger since 1920; The Tropics are getting bigger at 30 miles per decade and so on.
This is a must-read to get a sense on what’s happening “on the ground”. The regions hit the hardest by global warming are those located closer to the expanding tropics and semi-arid zones north and south of the equator.
“On such fragile foundations are built the first steps towards a more ethical kind of business, and who knows what virtuous circles might result?”
“Scientific evidence recently emerged that, contrary to earlier beliefs, Covid-19 can be spread by tiny droplets that we breathe out when we respire, called aerosols.”
“Economic wellbeing is part of the story, but it is also about finding less stressful lifestyles, in which healthy diet figures as a meaningful measure of success.”
“The industry has every asset needed to be a guiding light in the shift toward personal health priority. Will that become a prevention legacy, a ‘phoenix rising’ from the Covid-19 ashes?”
“Looking at the bigger picture, putting the measures in this order represents a lost opportunity that the pandemic could have offered for a cultural pivot pivot towards getting people more focused on their health, a powerful statement of intent.”
“Employment is necessary to fulfil our most basic human needs such as food and shelter. Any significant increase in long-term unemployment will spell a retrograde step for human wellbeing like no other.”
“All roads lead to a wellbeing anchor, whether that be economic/financial, physical, mental or emotional: all contribute to a progressive and inclusive cosmopolitan world. The answer should not be a choice of one or the other but of a joined up and compassionate solution for society, business and individuals.”
“The paradox is that we continue to do this in spite of recognising that striving to become ever-more productive is an intrinsically unhealthy behaviour, leading to stress and too often, a sense of failure.”
“The same broad-sweeping structural racism that enables police brutality against black Americans is also responsible for higher mortality among black Americans with Covid-19,” Maimuna Majumder, a Harvard epidemiologist working on the Covid-19 response, tells Vox.
The take-out from this? Wellbeing cannot exist at a more elevated level without our basic needs being met.