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Sunday, November 6, 2016

What’s that smell?

Seven Disgusting Climate Change Effects

Image result for black moldYou probably think that there’s nothing nastier on this earth than American politics. That thought would be understandable — but you’d be wrong. The candidates in this election cycle have carefully avoided a phenomenon that is even more repulsive — namely, the climate change effects that are attacking and distorting the world we know.

Sure, we’ve all heard that temperatures are climbing and that wild, monster storms are increasing. Some of us realize that human activity is behind it and fear that the world is about to implode —right after man manages to kill off every other life form.

But the first thing we should fear is what’s already before our eyes — the nasty, repulsive, absolutely disgusting climate change effects that we’re enduring while we’re waiting for the world to implode.

Here they are, in no particular order. All are equally intolerable:

1. Black mold. Warmer weather brings extreme rainfall brings extreme flooding. When flood waters invade homes, they permeate walls and floors that may take months to dry. Over those months, black mold grows on and inside of every permeable surface. The more flooding there is, the more mold will grow.

Spores embed themselves in building materials and destroy them. If left undetected, black mold causes respiratory ailments like asthma, pneumonia, and inflammation of the lungs. Some molds are so toxic that they even cause brain damage.

Image result for fish kill
2. Untreated sewageYeah, those record rainfalls are a real bitch! Everyone thinks our sewer systems will keep us all tidy and sanitized, but when they’re full, they’re full. There’s nowhere for their raw, untreated contents to go but backward, overflowing into homes, streets, canals, streams, rivers — leaving stinky, toxic sludge behind. The full extent of the contamination is virtually unknowable, but it destroys the health of both wildlife and people.

3. Dead fishMassive die-offs of fish and other wildlife occur in tandem with heavy pollution of our waterways. The causes are disease or oxygen-deprivation or dramatic temperature changes. On the other hand, increasing areas of drought simply dry up fish habitats.

In August, thousands of whitefish — possibly tens of thousands — died in the Yellowstone River in Montana after warmer-than-normal water temperatures allowed an overgrowth of a deadly parasite. The parasite caused kidney failure in the fish, which also affected some species of trout. That part of Montana is likely to remain hotter and dryer than usual, prolonging the conditions in which the parasite thrives.

Image result for algae blooms4. Algae outbreaksAlgae blooms are bigger, more frequent, more toxic, and smell even ranker when warmer weather prevails. Droughts mean shallower water in lakes and shallower water stays even warmer yet. Beaches have been closed from one side of the country to the other while waterways that are usually filled with boaters too closely resemble green swamps.

Algae expert Bev Anderson gave California swimmers a warning about the toxic nature of the blooms, made worse by chemical run-offs from farms and golf courses. She said:

If in doubt, stay out! Don’t go in, don’t let your dogs in.

There’ll be no relaxing swims while you’re waiting for the Apocalypse.

5. MosquitoesWarmer weather means a longer mosquito season. Even the Arctic Circle has an expanded mosquito season, along with 76% of major cities nationwide. Aside from the annoyance factor, mosquitoes transmit the Zika virus. More mosquitoes, living longer — the circumstances create a horrible nightmare for pregnant women.

6. TicksAs if mosquitoes aren’t pesky enough, blood-sucking ticks also thrive. As warmer temperatures spread northward, so does the territory that contains ticks. The insect’s particular threat — other than the revolting notion of one’s blood being sucked — is their transmission of Lyme disease to humans. 

The illness is no small thing. Undetected and untreated, Lyme disease can come a chronic condition that is totally debilitating. Unfortunately, no effective method for controlling ticks has yet been developed. Along with roaches, they may eventually co-rule what is left of the world.

Image result for mycotoxins
7. Toxic food. Warmth and humidity provide the perfect conditions for fungi to grow in our food crops. You might think a little fungus never hurt anyone. After all, we gleefully ingest mushrooms. 

However, the poisons produced by fungi — mycotoxins — can cause cancer, destroy kidney and liver function, and just flat-out kill you. They can be hard to detect and, scarier still, they don’t have to be eaten to wreak their havoc; they can also be absorbed or inhaled.

So there you have it — the worst climate change effects in a nutshell. Will politicians ever take them seriously enough to find ways to stop them? Not likely, and certainly not fast enough — which stinks more than a beach full of dead fish!

Deborah Montesano is a political blogger and social activist. In spite of years of monitoring the political scene in America, she remains optimistic about the future.