5 Weird — and Terrifying — Consequences of Climate Change You May Not Know About

When you hear climate change you think of crazy weather, but there are other frightening effects.

August 23, 2012 | Source: Alternet | by Alyssa Figueroa

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When you think about the terrible effects of climate change, I bet you picture droughts, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes, which makes sense – climate change is causing weather patterns to go absolutely crazy. But the crazy weather leads to other consequences that we often don’t think about when we hear the globe is warming up. Here is a list of 5 frightening effects from climate change this summer.

1. Increased Suicide

Besides destroying crops and causing food prices to spike, droughts have recently been linked to an alarming consequence: suicide. In a new study published in the journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found a link between droughts and suicides among men ages 30 to 49 living in rural areas in Australia. After evaluating 40 years of drought and suicide data for the state of New South Wales, droughts were linked to a 15 percent increase in suicide risk among these men. This link was also found in men under 30, though no link was found among women.

Though research for this study was completed in Australia, links between droughts and suicides have been made before, particularly in India where thousands of farmers kill themselves each year. In fact, a recent article states that one farmer in India commits suicide every 12 hours.

As the United States is seeing its largest drought since 1956, there are reasons to be concerned about the correlation. While the authors of the study note, “suicide is a complex phenomenon with many interacting social, environmental, and biological causal factors,” there are plenty of explanations for the correlation. The authors write that farmers and farming communities lose a lot of money when droughts destroy their crops. They also state that farmers experience mental distress when witnessing the devastation of their livestock and crops.

The authors remind us that if we don’t truly work to stop climate change, we will have to face the disturbing effects. They conclude in their abstract: “Elucidating the relationships between drought and mental health will help facilitate adaptation to climate change.”