As a recently retired person in central Pennsylvania, here are some of the questions that keep me up nights: Will the retirement accounts, personal savings, Social Security and Medicare benefits I am now counting on to support me for the rest of my life, through sickness and health, really be there when I need them? What about people in the Valley who lack retirement accounts, personal savings and home equity? How can we all age together, equitably and productively? And how will a warming climate impact our futures?

Like most people, I imagine, I’ve planned to retire into a world that works pretty much the way the current world does. What will happen when earlier frosts, delayed rains and hotter summers cause more crop failures? What will happen when California’s Central Valley, which supplies so much of our food, runs out of water for irrigation — a catastrophe that appears likely to happen in my lifetime? What happens when food is less available and more expensive? In the Valley, we are blessed with farmers and farmers markets, bountiful waters and beautiful communities. What will happen to us locally when the global food system starts to really experience the impact of changing climates?

Sabrina Kirby is a retired writing teacher in East Buffalo Township.

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