Polar bears are often seen as the face of climate change, and with good reason: sea ice loss in the Arctic is putting their survival in question. Yet, with far-off furry faces being seen as the symbol, it is sometimes hard for people to believe that climate change will affect them personally.

The truth is, we’re already living with the effects of climate change, from extreme weather to invasive species. These changes are affecting our health, our safety and our livelihoods.

In this two-part series (read part 1 here), discover 10 professions and industries that are already feeling the impact of climate change. 

6. Winter Sports


As bad as summer folks have it, winter sports companies and tourism sites fare even worse. This year most of California's Sierra Nevada mountains had next to no snow thanks to the climate change-fueled drought. That's a killer for ski resorts, at least seven of which closed early in 2015 due to lack of snow. To eke out some semblance of a season, two Lake Tahoe resorts spent $8 million over two years on snowmaking to make up for the anemic precipitation.

Facing these trends, the winter sports community has been an outspoken proponent of climate action for years.


7. Breweries


If you've ever been on a brewery tour, you've heard how important water and water quality is to production of beer. Beer giant Anheuser-Busch uses 3.5 barrels of water to produce one barrel of beer. Worried about water shortages, the company set a goal of reducing the amount to 3.15 barrels initially and more in the future.

Climate change also impacts barley and hops crops, key ingredients for beer. In a 2014 study published to the Journal of Cereal Science, University of Queensland researcher Peter Gous warned that climate change could affect the amount and quality of starch found in barley, which, when malted, is a major ingredient in beer. This would leave brewers with two options: to accept the loss of quality, and produce less tasty beer; or to invest more in their crops to protect them from water stress, and pass that cost onto the beer-drinker.


8. Wineries


Wineries face an additional challenge. While getting water is important, the overall climate of a region and microclimate of an individual hillside have an enormous influence on their product. Different grapes grow well under different conditions: Pinot noirs like cool, misty hillsides. Zinfandels prefer hotter, sunnier exposure. As these things change, decades of investment in vines could wither away. It takes a minimum of three years for grape vines to take root before they begin to produce grapes, which makes the industry slow to adapt and puts vintners at even more risk.


9. Public Health Professionals        


A growing body of research shows that climate change has serious impacts on our health. Climate deniers argue that carbon pollution isn’t directly toxic to humans, yet this kind of simplistic reasoning overlooks the serious effects it has on our air quality. Some doctors have noted the serious uptick in respiratory illness like asthma over the last few years. Hotter air can create smog and that harms peoples’ lungs when they breathe, especially children and the elderly.


10. Utilities           


In many parts of the world, climate change is resulting in extreme weather patterns such as hotter, drier summers. Hotter summers mean more demand for air conditioning, and anyone who's gaped at a July electric bill (or January for the southern hemisphere!) knows that meeting that demand requires a LOT of power. This puts utilities in the tough position of meeting more high spikes in demand. Having enough power available requires huge investments in new power plants, many of which have historically used dirty energy sources like coal. Ironically, this actually contributes to the problem, putting utilities at the center of a destructive feedback loop.

While utilities often publicly worry about the impact of things like home solar on their business, many companies fear the impacts of climate change just as much, or more.

This wraps up our two-part series on ten industries disrupted by climate change. Do you have your own story or experience to share? Post a comment here below!

Emily Logan is Director of Acquisition and Retention at Care2, where her team works with member activists to spread the word about ThePetitionSite. In her time at Care2 she has also worked extensively with hundreds of nonprofit organizations to recruit activists and donors and build out their online strategies. Emily has a B.S. in journalism and a B.A. in music from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and currently lives in rainy Portland, Oregon with her cat, Ostrich. 

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