Is This the New Normal? Climate Extremes

Dana Ellis Hunnes
Age of Awareness
Published in
4 min readDec 15, 2021


NASA image of Earth

Our Home is Unique and Fragile

The deadly tornadoes that slammed Tornado Alley this weekend is just one example, out of many from 2020 and 2021, demonstrating the catastrophic effects that climate change can have. It is fact that climate change is wreaking havoc on the planet, our homes, our health, and nearly every aspect of our lives.

This will most likely get worse over time — at least, that’s what the projections say, unless we act swiftly and decisively.

Like a human body, Earth has many interacting systems that allow it to function and maintain optimal health. However, like a human body, if there are enough insults or injuries, toxins, or fevers, they will overwhelm the system and make life difficult.

That is what we are witnessing today.

Toxins such as carbon dioxide, methane, pesticides, fertilizers, and animal-waste runoff suffocate Earth and vast areas of ocean.

Insults such as razing millions of acres of rainforest every year, make it increasingly difficult to absorb the carbon we emit.

Injuries to the land or to slow growing yet crucial coral reefs — which are home to more than 25 percent of all marine species — risk food and livelihood security for more than 500 million people worldwide.

Fevers (global warming), due to the extra carbon we emit into the atmosphere make it difficult to grow certain foods or live in certain areas; due either to catastrophic heat and drought, or calamitous flooding or weather events.

Like a virus attacking the immune system, we — as species — attack Earth every day.

We ignore the signs and symptoms that are in front of us, until WHAM, they knock on our door, or mow our house down.

The scientific community has identified the number one cause of climate change — us. We have been monitoring its trajectory and offering solutions to protect Earth and ourselves from further harm. Yet, government leaders choose to ignore these recommendations.

The recent Conference of the Parties 26 (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland discussed having ‘net-zero emissions by 2050’ and ‘ending deforestation by 2030’ — two goals that may keep global warming below 2C and perhaps even below 1.5C.

However, very few direct actions were provided to achieve these goals.

Furthermore, COP26 did not even address emissions from agriculture or their expected increase due to a larger population that wants to eat more animal foods in the future.

This omission is shocking when one considers that agriculture produces one-quarter and possibly more of the world’s total emissions.

Today there are 7.9 billion people on Earth. By 2050, there may be 9.7 billion. By 2050, more people will live in cities, earn more money, and eat more meat, dairy, and processed foods. Although population will increase by 23 percent, we will need to produce 60 percent more food.

Unfortunately, Earth does not have 60 percent more land available to produce these extra foods at the levels we currently eat them and are expected to eat them, and eliminating more rainforest will do far more damage to Earth’s systems than we see even today with massive wildfires, category 5 hurricanes, severe drought, and now devastating tornadoes.

These issues drove me to become a climate advocate — a voice for our Earth, which is ill and requires help.

It is time we change, while there is still a chance.

These are issues that drove me to write my book and provide researched actions we can all take to be part of the solution and act on climate change.

Individual actions matter, and they matter even more when we work together.

While there are other books, studies, and articles about climate change, too many of them remain focused on fossil fuels, energy, and transport. My perspective is unique in its focus on the rarely discussed aspects of climate change — namely how our own personal behaviors and actions can affect the trajectory of climate change and the recovery of Earth’s systems.

When government leaders are slow to act, it is up to us to do something, anything!

As an individual, YOUR most IMPORTANT contribution to slow down climate change comes from your FOOD CHOICES. Studies show that transitioning to a primarily plant-based diet and reducing food waste significantly lowers your personal contribution to climate emissions, saves water and land, resources, and money! Win-win-win.

We have all been touched by COVID in some way. We never want to see another pandemic; yet, the ways we raise animals for food — in crowded, confined conditions — increase the risk for future novel infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance. Today, more than 70 percent of medically important antibiotics are fed to animals. This increases the risk that harmful bacteria could become resistant to antibiotics. This is not good!

When I look into the future, I want to see an Earth capable of providing all the food, water, air, and shelter that our children and future generations need.

Earth cannot afford for us to wait until 2050, 2030, next year, next week, or even tomorrow. We need to start today, and I know we can. This is my call to action to protect this one planet we call home.

For more information and ideas: Recipe For Survival: What You Can Do to Live a Healthier and More Environmentally Friendly Life

Twitter: @danaellishunnes

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Dana Ellis Hunnes
Age of Awareness

Env't & conservation loving. adjunct professor, dietitian, wife, mom, & writer PhD, MPH, RD #Conservation #HealthExpert #ClimateChangeIsReal #PlantBasedDiets