Climate Change Could Ruin Your Sex Life, Economists Warn
Climate change threatens so many things Americans love: maple syrup, avocados and lately even pumpkins. Now, climate change is even threatening our ability to reproduce. According to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, warmer weather means less "coital frequency."
As the planet gets warmer, things get harder to enjoy – climb, surf, fly fish, ski...and sex. @eroston explains: https://t.co/5wOvDC018B— Patagonia (@Patagonia)1446573185.0
"Extreme heat leads to a sizable fall in births," the study says. "Temperature extremes could affect coital frequency. It could affect hormone levels and sex drives. Alternatively, high temperatures may adversely affect reproductive health or semen quality on the male side or ovulation on the female side," say the three economists from Tulane University, University of California and University of Central Florida who wrote the paper.
In the paper, Maybe Next Month? Temperature Shocks, Climate Change and Dynamic Adjustments in Birth Rates, the researchers predict that "increased temperatures due to climate change may reduce population growth rates in the coming century." Looking at 80 years of U.S. fertility and temperature data, they found that "additional days above 80 degrees Fahrenheit cause a large decline in birth rates approximately eight to 10 months later." And these would-be parents often do not "make up for lost time in subsequent, cooler months," reports Bloomberg.
Maybe @SenSanders is right about climate change being the greatest national security threat... https://t.co/pWJ4VNGoWp— Yonah Diamond (@Yonah Diamond)1446646067.0
Though many may welcome decreasing birth rates in an overcrowded planet, the researchers say it will create problems in countries with already low birth rates. "The decline in birth rates is a very serious issue for countries, like the U.S. and the UK, which have below-replacement birth rates," said Alan Barreca, an associate professor at Tulane University and one of the authors. "This will put a lot of strain on social insurance programs, like Social Security, because it will create large imbalances in the make-up of the population."
Researchers say that policymakers should pay attention to three main takeaways from their findings (via Bloomberg):
1. Birth rates do not bounce back completely after heat waves.
That's a problem. As summers heat up, developed countries may see already low birth rates sink even lower. Plunging birth rates can wreak havoc on an economy. China's leaders recently acknowledged this by ditching the longtime one-child policy and doubling the number of children couples are allowed to have. A sub-replacement U.S. birthrate means fewer workers to pay Social Security benefits for retirees, among other consequences.
2. More autumn conceptions means more deliveries in summer.
Infants experience a higher rate of poor health with summer births, "though the reasons for worse health in the summer are not well-established," the authors write. One possibility may be "third-trimester exposure to high temperatures."
3. Air conditioning might prove to be an aphrodisiac.
Control over the climate at home might make a difference. The researchers suggest that the rise of air conditioning may have helped offset some heat-related fertility losses in the U.S. since the 1970s.
GUYS. If this doesn't make #COP21 a success I don't know what will. Climate Change = Less Sex https://t.co/VDBSHY1i6R— Alexandra White (@Alexandra White)1446545854.0
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At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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