We started hearing the comments way back in 2007 when we hit the road. “Weather’s not like it used to be,” old farmers would tell us. Nearly fifteen years later, we are witnessing the many ways that climate change impacts the RVing lifestyle. And now I’ve got a raging case of eco-anxiety. How about you?
Is climate change on your mind more than ever before? It is for me.
This week I listened to the Ten Percent Happier Podcast, “What to Do About Eco-Anxiety.” I’m glad I did.
In it, guest Jay Michaelson discusses how we can cope with our anxiety about climate change. No, it’s not trying to convince people on Facebook that climate change is real. In fact, Michaelson says, only about 20% of Americans think that it’s not real. Most of us are convinced that the planet is in trouble.
But do you feel powerless? I do, nearly every time I think about how climate change impacts the RV lifestyle I love so much. Or when I remember seeing the Athabasca Glacier retreat. I also worry about another flash-flood evacuation. And fleeing another wildfire. Yeah. I think about climate calamities. A lot.
We can recycle all the bottles we want, and drive alternative fuel RVs. But this won’t create real change.
Michaelson says nothing is going to change until major change occurs at the government level. Large corporations and government must work together to save us from extinction. They are the only powerful entities that can create policies and actions that will help us reverse course. BUT, the only way they will do it, is when they hear from ALL of us!
As J-Lo says, everyone, get loud! Our collective shared experiences must mesh together NOW to create one loud, powerful, persuasive voice. This is the only thing that will force the powers that be to create real policies that save our planet and humanity. Because I have this platform, I’m adding my voice here to that message.
Three ways climate change impacts the RVing lifestyle
After nearly fifteen years on the road, here are three things I know to be true about climate change and RV living at this point in history:
Extreme weather is putting more of us at risk, all year long.
Back in 2007, climate change was whispering in our ears. From Harley the old farmer in North Dakota, to the hippies in Vermont, whenever we asked about what it was like to live in their region’s climate, they would usually tell us “It’s hot/cold/rainy….but seems like weather’s not like it used to be.” Nearly fifteen years later, we know for a fact it isn’t.
Now more than ever, RVers are running from insanely dangerous year-round forest fires, floods, and other natural disasters. Sure, we might have the advantage of being able to outrun them with all our possessions already packed, but there’s no guarantee we will make it out alive. Climate change and RVing puts us at greater risk of weather-related injury and death, all year, wherever we go.
Summer RVing is increasingly intolerable.
Last summer was the first year we bought electric fans to help us get through summer heat. In the mountains. At 3,000-feet elevation. The fans, combined with periodic air conditioner use throughout the day, offer some respite. But as any RVer with a 30-amp unit and one A/C knows, in extreme heat, even air conditioning is not enough. Unless you happen to be camped in the highest peaks of the Rockies during summer, odds are good that between June and September, you’re going to bake like a pot-roast wherever you go.
Wildfires are eliminating the places we can camp.
Thanks to climate change impacts like drought, fire, and pine beetle infestations, fewer of us are able to experience America’s forests. Some of the most incredible places to camp are burning at unprecedented rates. And the more acreage that burns, the more campgrounds get closed to visitors. Even when the fire is long gone and forests re-open, many campgrounds and trails stay closed because of the risk that dead trees present to people camping and walking underneath them. This year in California, every inch of national forest was closed to visitors. As a kid who couldn’t wait until summer to camp in the Sierra Nevadas with my family, a full closure like this is unfathomable.
RV parks and campgrounds are more crowded than ever.
With forests closed, RVers are turning to other places to recreate, like private RV parks and campgrounds. In many places like overcrowded California RV parks, the housing crisis has made it harder to find a place to stay for more than one night. Now, it’s almost impossible if you want to go RVing during summer. RVers are camping year-round in lots of states. And we are having a hard time finding affordable, enjoyable, and uncrowded RV destinations.
This is just the beginning of how climate change impacts the RV lifestyle.
Every consequence of climate change snowballs into something else that ultimately directly affects every one of us, RVer or not. If you love this nomadic lifestyle as much as we do, please stand up for the planet and humanity.
Want to feel less helpless about climate change? Register people to vote. This year, persuade centrist senators (if one represents you) to get on board with meaningful climate action. Donate to political causes. Get involved in local politics, where meaningful collective actions are possible. — Jay Michaelson
Just. Do. Something. If you have children or grandkids that are inheriting this mess, at least they will know that you tried your best to save them from the Mad Max nightmare headed our way.