Climate change has been a pressing issue in the U.S. and around the world for decades. Each year global warming makes the Earth’s atmosphere hotter and hotter and one day it will be too hot for any life form to survive. It seems like climate change is an issue that won’t affect us for a long time but that’s not true. Climate change has already caused irreversible damage and we need to pay more attention or future generations might not have an Earth to live on.
Our climate affects everything on our planet from food to weather. Heat-trapping gasses cause the air above the sea to become hotter resulting in heavier rainfall, flooding and unpredictable storm behavior. Since the 80s, hurricanes have been increasingly more intense and more frequent. These super storms claim the lives of people and animals and cause billions of dollars in damage every year.
Climate change causes erratic weather behavior which makes it hard for farmers to provide crops and livestock. While some areas receive more rain than normal, others won’t receive any at all. California just ended its more than seven year drought in March of 2019. On the other hand, 2018 was the wettest year ever recorded in over a dozen east and Midwest states. According to a National Climate Assessment, in 2012 rising temperatures affected the amount of corn produced across the U.S. and caused $220 million in losses of Michigan cherries (2014).
Hotter air in the atmosphere is also causing glaciers and ice sheets to melt, resulting in rising sea levels. 40 percent of the U.S. population lives on coastal cities. Consequently, their roads, infrastructure, beaches, water supplies and more, are all at risk for flooding. By the time the oceans make their way into your backyard, it will be too late. These examples only scratch the surface when it comes to the negative effects of climate change and it will only continue to get worse if we don’t act.
Earth Day is a day to celebrate all of the wonderful gifts she’s given us. But it’s also a time to think about how we can reduce the amount of damage we cause to our home. Small things like recycling, turning off lights when you’re not in the room, and taking shorter showers can help decrease the amount of waste and therefore, gasses released into the atmosphere. You can also choose to shop with brands that use recycled material and donate to environmental causes. Start a community clean up and get other people excited about saving the earth. There are so many options for ways to contribute that there’s not excuse. Take Earth Day to learn about different environmental health initiatives and help us created a better future for our home.