7 Ways the Climate Crisis Will Fuck Up California Before 2030

More fires, human-sized squids, marijuana that’ll make you board a spaceship to a higher dimension — and so much more.

The fires that burned through Northern and Southern California in 2020 were catastrophic and heartbreaking.  An eerie smoke floated over the Bay Area, leaving an ominous orange light and thick air through which kids are walking to school in masks. The scariest thing of all may be that due to the ever-worsening trend of human-induced climate change, this is fast becoming the new normal.

Though fearmongering is rarely helpful, in this case, our biggest worries may become a reality — because we’re already seeing evidence of that. (This past 4th of July weekend was the hottest ever recorded by human-made instruments; the seawaters off South Florida are measuring as hot as 101 degrees Fahrenheit, which will lead to a massive coral bleaching event.)

While California is pushing back on sins against good ol’ Mother Nature — i.e. electrifying of both public and private transport — the sobering, unholy facts still remain: our seas are rising; our air is warming; and our flora and fauna are disappearing.

The damage has been done. We’re now in crisis-management mode.

The Golden State will, unfortunately, be host to the effects of our eco-conscious shortcomings… seven of which might surprise you.

1. More of Us Will Soon Have Waterfront Properties

As Miami gradually sinks beneath Atlantic tides, our Pacific shorelines will also continue to inch closer and closer to our patios and beloved Embarcadero eateries. With rising sea levels inundating our shores across the state, especially right here in the Bay Area, more of us may soon have those beachside vacation homes we’ve always wanted.

If you really want a reason to loathe or love where your future beach home may sit, check out this infographic of what a hypothetical 25-foot rise in sea level would look like here in SF, courtesy of Urban Life Signs, to cement your feelings.

2. The Valley Is Going to Get Hella Hot — and Affect Our Agricultural Prowess

San Franciscans are climatologically blessed with temperatures that rarely spike above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. But as temperatures rise, crops — especially those growing soft-fleshed fruits and shallow-rooting vegetables — will have the life sucked out of them, thus pressuring our already pressure-cooked agricultural workers.

California produces more than two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts, including almonds, pistachios, oranges, and stone fruits, and more than two-fifths of the country’s broccoli, spinach, and carrots—produce that pulls in over $50 billion a year. Since the early 2000s, the yields for those aforementioned crops have dropped a steady 4 percent; avocados, a staple for any twenty- or thirty-something, are harvested in 40 percent fewer numbers now.

Alas, as the planet warms, California’s agricultural jobs will be lost; family businesses will literally run dry; and our statewide economy will suffer. Though new crops offer some hope, we should note that everything from apparated “ghost lakes” nearly the size of Lake Tahoe to massive introduced locus swarms will become staples in CA’s climate crisis-defined future.

3. More Fucking Forest Fires

A climate-crisis checklist for an increasing number of wildfires: Dried-out underbrush? Check. Thirsty AF trees? Oh yeah. Overarching arid grasslands? You bet.

And when you combine all those factors with the growing energy needs of our infrastructure, human-caused climate change will undoubtedly worsen our already parched green-scapes, making them susceptible to burn, and causing widespread disaster. Suffice it to say that it might be wise to invest in fire insurance.

4. Our Bays Will be Home to (Many) New Neighbors

San Francisco is full of invasive flora and fauna, which can be a strain on the habitat and native species. The climate crisis is only going to continue to bring more invasive species into California waters, especially in those that hug the San Francisco Bay. But at least we won’t (hopefully) get SoCal’s looming invasion of man-size, deep-water squids.

5. The Marijuana Industry Will Soon Grow “Super Pot”

The flowering bodies and other THC- and CBD-bound parts of cannabis are highly susceptible to temperature changes and, when grown in hotter-than-ideal climates, become more potent. As our planet warms, we’ll all be getting higher — which may be the only silver lining of climate change.

Assuming that flowering marijuana plants are kept in good health and standing, climate change is slotted to create strains of “super pot.” Two well-rolled blunts today could, in theory, be less potent than just a single one come 2050. (Since the ’70s alone, both medicinal and recreational marijuana edibles and smoke-ables have increased in potency by nearly 60 percent, partially due to the warmer climates they’ve been cultivated in.)

6. Karl the Fog Could Go the Way of the Dodo

Did you know that Karl the Fog is about one-third slimmer than he was just four decades ago? Moreover: He’s about to get a whole lot thinner in the coming years.

Due to changes in atmospheric moisture levels, ebbing temperatures, and shifts in the gulf stream, there’s a chance that Karl the Fog could literally vanish into thin air by the turn of the century. If nothing else, we can all agree that we’ll mourn his spectacular Twitter (X? Who the fuck knows) account should he disappear.

7. Coffee, Wine, and Beer Prices May Climb Like the Mercury in Thermometers

Get ready to grab your alcoholic and caffeinated pearls. This factoid is going to hit your hearts (and pocketbooks) like a damn semi-truck.

Because the fruits, hops, and beans that make our favorite beverages could be on their way out, the market for the elixirs they produce is about to get expensive. (Read: Your favorite local beer could cost $8 a bottle; a single espresso shot could become a $5 indulgence; and a bottle of wine might need to be worked into your monthly budget.)

Drink up, gang—in the name of frugality — while you still can, preferably before 2030 comes rolling around.

What Can You Do?

Here are some links to resources providing solutions as well as places where you can help:

Feature Image: Courtesy of U.S. Government

Leave a Reply