Careers that will Suffer the Consequences of the Climate Crisis
Average global temperatures continue to increase. As this crisis worsens, the world will endure ongoing and escalating impacts. One of the many facets of human life to be affected are careers. The world of work will be dramatically altered through the course of this century as the changing climate eliminates and worsens numerous jobs and careers in Canada and around the globe. It will impact fields that you may not have expected.
A report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 80 million full-time positions will be lost in the next decade. Reduced productivity and increased heat-stress will especially impact physical jobs that primarily take place outdoors. Construction workers already have to contend with weather delays, and this will only be exasperated by the changing climate. These delays increase overall costs, while rising temperatures not only harms the health of workers, but also makes it difficult to cure concrete. Higher temperatures and heavier rainfall will also make it more challenging for mail carriers to complete their routes and deliver packages. This will impact the speedier expectations customers have for deliveries thanks to fast turnaround times promised by companies such as Amazon, as well as the sending and delivery of products that so many small businesses depend on.
Elsewhere around the world, increased temperatures will harm workers in hotter countries with textile factories that lack air conditioning. From 2030 to 2050, the World Health Organization estimates that heat stress will result in an additional 38,000 deaths annually worldwide. In nations expected to endure higher temperature increases, this will adversely affect women and agricultural workers. The construction industry in Southeast Asia and West Africa will endure a huge loss of working hours, with 19% of hours expected to be lost globally. Sport, transportation, and tourism are all going to be worsened in geographical areas such as Africa and South Asia, more so than in North America and Europe. It is an undeniable and troubling fact that the carbon emissions carried out by major corporations and our modern way of life is going to have a harsher impact on poorer and developing nations.
The negative impact is not only on the ground. Pilots will be affected by the changing weather conditions. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that 53% of flight delays were due to weather in 2015. As the climate changes and global wind speeds are altered, this will result in expensive delays and problems such as more money needed for fuel. Travel will become increasingly challenging just as an unprecedented number of climate refugees will seek escape from those nations set to be hit hardest by the climate crisis, and who will be seeking work in countries such as Canada. Major cities such as Toronto will not only have to contend with this influx of people, but also the added heat caused by numerous buildings and lack of vegetation. This will increase temperatures in the downtown core, making both outdoor construction and indoor office jobs more difficult.
Every single career is going to see some sort of impact from the climate crisis. Physical and outdoor jobs, as well as ones more likely to be immediately impacted by weather patterns, will suffer the most. Employers and companies must take the appropriate steps to future-proof their businesses. Governments must step in to help the most vulnerable. Employees and workers must be aware of the growing risks and what can be done to ensure safety in an increasingly unsafe work environment. With these challenges comes the opportunity for a more global and unified approach to these problems. There is the potential to radically transform the very nature of work with greater reliance on technology and artificial intelligence, more remote jobs that do not require people to be in one specific location, and strengthened social programs such as universal basic income. But 2030 or 2050 are not the times to take action. That time is now.
Crandall, Diana. “Jobs That Will Be Most Affected by Global Warming.” Attn:. https://archive.attn.com/stories/3862/jobs-affected-by-global-warming
Taylor, Lin. “80M jobs could be lost by 2030 due to climate change: UN.” Global News. https://globalnews.ca/news/5449602/climate-change-un-jobs-heat/
Vander Wier, Marcel. “Major job losses with climate change: report.” HRReporter. https://www.hrreporter.com/focus-areas/wellness-mental-health/major-job-losses-with-climate-change-report/304957