The western wildfires continue to rage on and have wreaked havoc in several states including California, Oregon and Washington with some of the first fires dating back to late July. Millions of acres have been decimated in the west, neighborhoods and businesses have been completely disintegrated, at least 35 lives have been lost and dozens remaining missing.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared this massive destruction of property and lives as “the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfires in our state's history.”
Gov. Brown was not the only one making strong claims. California’s wildfires have already been deemed the deadliest of the year, with over 3 million acres ravished and this year’s wine crops in Sonoma and Napa valleys have been deemed infertile.
Origins of the wildfires may differ, but most officials have agreed that climate change has been a contributing factor and is here to stay. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has even referred to California’s wildfire season as being year-round.
While President Trump has a pattern of repeatedly denying climate change’s existence, the global community of scientists has continued to warn the public of its relentless effects on the environment and us.
But, what exactly is climate change? According to NASA, it is the long-term change in average weather patterns on a local, regional and global scale. A rise in temperatures will not only mean more wildfires but droughts, intense storms, rising sea levels, shrinking ice sheets and increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
The effects of climate change don’t just stop there. A domino effect should be considered. Let’s take rising sea levels as an example. A rise in sea levels will cause detrimental effects to coastal habitats, which leads to erosion, aquifer and agricultural soil contamination, flooding and loss of habitats. The rising of sea levels could eventually affect us -- with floods, the natural disaster that has caused the most deaths in America.
It becomes crucial to consider that even if climate changes seem to affect our environment, humans also are a part of this macro setting and large contributors to the Earth. It won’t just take individual efforts in recycling, reusing,
or refusing. Combating climate change will take entire nations. It will take a global effort to create international environmental sustainability and protection programs to drive down rising temperatures and CO2 emissions.
Even if our roles as constituents seem minute, we elect our representatives and they represent us. As a unit, it is crucial we come together to make our voices heard, which seeds precedence when we may not feel like our collective agendas are getting pushed forward. For better or worse, that will be up to us to decide.
To learn more about Climate Change, refer to some resources below
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