Updated: Feb 26
As climate change is a prevalent issue in the United States, it is a common misconception that it has disappeared during this current pandemic crisis. This is simply not true, and change cannot be put on pause. It is estimated that the imminent “Danger Threshold” can come as soon as 2036 in which the impacts of this issue cannot be reversed. While that is soon, it is also preventable. The US has seen many of these effects of climate change firsthand, and many examples of it have been ongoing and some are even occurring right now.
We have been able to see the effects of climate change firsthand in the United States, and if it is not acted on now, many fail to see that more severe, adverse effects will come a lot sooner rather than later. Hurricanes have come to rise on the East Coast, and forest fires are threatening the west. Contrary to popular belief, these natural disasters are indicative of the very apparent problem that needs to be acted upon. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions data showed that climate change “doubled the number of large fires between 1984 and 2015”. We have also seen that wildfire seasons have been extending by months. Wildfires should not be normalized because they are very far from it. Research has shown that climate change is the main cause for any of the moisture from the ground to evaporate into the air. Meteorological patterns then push precipitation from areas that need it most, and there is no more moisture being put back into those environments. The ground is then rendered dry and a perfect starting point for a forest fire. These droughts in combination with the rising emissions of greenhouse gases lead way for these fires to continually get worse.
In addition to the wildfires, there are currently two hurricanes heading towards the coast, Laura and Marco. This hurricane season is seen to be “one of the most active seasons on record” according to Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service. Some attribute this rise and frequent occurrence of tropical storms to a combination of climate patterns and natural variations over the span of decades. Though this could be a possibility, the rise in water levels, danger and severity of storms, and an increase in precipitation can only be related to Climate Change and its effects. These natural disasters have been hitting harder and harder each year, and will continue to get worse without any attention brought to problem.
This poses the question of whether these natural disasters can help be revived and reversed. The answer is simply “yes”, but there is more to it than addressing that there is a problem. The United States has yet to put forward and solutions for this issue, but the clearest solution is to cut carbon emissions. Though it seems simple enough, it plays into tons of industries across the US and the world. Covid-19 has actually helped cut some of these industries emissions inadvertently when there was a worldwide shutdown, but there needs to be a solution beyond the temporary situation. That is why it is imperative for us to incorporate sustainability from a younger age. We as a society can begin to educate ourselves, and then educate our youth so that they will have sustainable habits as they grow older.
~ Concetta Bochicchio
Usgcrp. “Climate Science Special Report: Droughts, Floods, and Wildfire.” Droughts, Floods, and Wildfire - Climate Science Special Report, science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/8/.
“Will Wildfires Keep Spreading with Climate Change?” Environmental Defense Fund, www.edf.org/climate/will-wildfires-keep-spreading-climate-change.
Fountain, Henry. “Hurricane Forecast: 'One of the Most Active Seasons on Record'.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Aug. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/08/06/climate/hurricanes-noaa-prediction.html.
“Climate Solutions.” Union of Concerned Scientists, www.ucsusa.org/climate/solutions.