We’ve all dreamed of abandoning our credit card debts without a word and fleeing the country to take up the bohemian life of an artist. This fantasy inevitably takes us to Venice, the City of A Thousand Rivers – where you can take a paddle boat in place of a taxi and float to the grocery store as you compose sonnets. But Venetian charms only go so far, and as the rising water levels slowly engulf the city, your lofty artistic aspirations are stained by the smell of sewage … and every time you step out of your soggy apartment, it’s directly into a puddle that was not there the day before. And wet socks are worse than anything else in the world. Okay, so maybe it’s best to come back to reality – a nine to five isn’t so bad, and at least you’ll have dry socks. But don’t get too comfortable in you cozy dry footwear, because coastal cities around the globe may start looking a lot more like Venice in the very near future.

A recent study released by The University of Oregon posits that global sea levels could rise as much as nine meters (around 30 feet) over the next century. This number sounds crazy, but here is how researchers reached this conclusion, they took core samples from 83 different locations around the globe in search of the last period of time that the ocean surface temperature was the same it is today. Turns out, that was around 125,000 years ago and during that era, global sea levels were six-nine meters (20-30 feet) higher than they are today. While a large portion of the globe’s water is concentrated in the polar ice caps, as temperatures increase and the ice caps continue to melt, the sea levels will rapidly rise and  catch up with historic norms.

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This study’s predictions for the impact of sea level rise are on the extreme side of estimates; some scientists guess that water levels will only rise by six inches, while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration believes this number somewhere around six meters.  However, the majority of the scientific community agrees, the reason for rising temperatures and rising water levels is directly correlated to the increased amount of greenhouse emissions from human industry.

Ironically, this study follows hot on the heels of Trump’s inauguration. Minutes after he was sworn in, the President removed the climate change section from the White House website. Trump and his nominee for the Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, have both voiced their firm disbelief that humans have played any role in global climate change, much to the dismay of the international scientific community. So unfortunately, it does not look like the United States will be leading the charge against greenhouse emission in the coming years.

But don’t despair! We do not have to be forever condemned to wet socks and soggy apartments – the most effective way to fight climate change starts with you and your daily lifestyle choices.  You can make a difference by choosing to walk or bike to work rather than driving, seeking out recycling bins for plastic waste, and even being mindful of the impact of your choices. But there is also another solution that can have an enormously positive impact for the planet: changing the way you eat.

The animal agriculture industry is responsible for around 14.5 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions – that is more than the entire transportation sector. By leaving meat off your plate, you can cut your carbon footprint in half – and choosing to swap out dairy and eggs too can have any even larger impact.

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To learn more about how you can attack the problem of climate change with your fork and knife, join One green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet movement and together, we can save our planet.

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Lead image source: Stephen Orsillo/Shutterstock

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