Making the Change for Climate Change By Gwen Langi

Orange skies, a blanket of ash and the smell of smoke. This is what Californians were left to deal with after wildfires broke out across the state, burning through more than 3 million acres of land.

According to the Cal Fire Active Incidents map, there are over 7,718 fires raging across California. Our state has experienced six of the top 20 largest state fires this year alone but if we don’t do our part, that number will undoubtedly increase.

When it was revealed that a California couple set fire to over 10,000 acres of the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa during a gender reveal party for their soon-to-be born child, people were quick to point fingers. Although excessive, it isn’t the soon-to-be parents’ fault that the surrounding land was dry and susceptible to fires. The El Dorado fire has consumed just 10,000 of 2.3 million acres currently on fire. The west coast is ablaze because of climate change.

Sadly, fires burning farther and faster aren’t our only concerns that need to be tackled immediately. California made history this past summer with their record-breaking temperatures of 120 degrees in parts of Los Angeles and touching 130 degrees in Death Valley. Not only have our summers gotten increasingly hotter, but our winters are following suit. To some, these warm weathers mean beach visits and pool parties but more importantly they’re the cause of unpredictable disasters in communities everywhere.

While some say the connection lies between hot weather and an increase in unemployment, unfed families and the relocation of whole towns, science continues to point to climate change. But despite overwhelming amounts of scientific evidence, dismissive authoritative and influential figures stand in the way of a progressive conversation about climate change and what needs to be done.

The idea of climate change is that increasingly large amounts of emitted carbon dioxide traps heat in our atmosphere and the withheld heat causes the planet to get warmer, known as the greenhouse effect. However, the problem doesn’t lie within the planet getting warmer itself but instead the speed at which the planet is getting warmer, which is far quicker than scientists had hoped for.

Currently, we are one degree celsius warmer than pre-industrial times. The United Nations says that by the year 2100 an increase by half of a degree to two degrees is an acceptable rate but unfortunately at our current rate of methane and carbon dioxide emission we are expected to increase by half a degree by the year 2030, 70 years before expectancy.

| Photo courtesy of Michael Held |

President Donald Trump is no stranger to denying the climate change theory and the scientific evidence behind it. On Sept. 14, 2020 Trump joined California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other California officials to address the California wildfire damage in Sacramento.

“We want to work together with that science, that science is key. If we ignore that science and put our head in the sand we’re not going to succeed together in protecting Californians,” announced Newsom to which the President simply stated, followed by a laugh, “It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch. I don’t think science knows.”

Naysayers of climate change pose a detrimental threat to the future community.

Climate change causes more troubles than just wildfires and unhealthy air quality. Because of the warmer temperatures, ice caps melt at an alarming rate and add onto the rising sea levels which are already rising because of the expanding sea waters caused by warm temperatures. Animals living on ice are threatened as their habitats begin to melt away underneath them, and coastal communities face the threat of their homes being flooded as well.

Factors such as dry land and melting glaciers can easily be glossed over when downplayed and boiled down to simpler terms. But when it’s something serious such as the future health of our communities, we may want to rethink our thoughts towards the validity of climate change and its contributing factors.

Mirroring the butterfly effect, one change in an environment will issue a response from the rest of the environment. Warmer weather causes glaciers to melt which then causes sea levels to rise. Rising sea levels pose a threat to both surrounding people and animals but they also go as far as to impact our food production and trigger food shortages.

Climate change is a popular topic dubbed as “controversial” but there's nothing controversial about our community being destroyed right in front of our eyes with a large amount of scientific evidence to support it. Science shows that carbon dioxide and methane emissions are steering our future towards an unpleasant one. And officials in power like Donald Trump who possess a dismissive attitude towards scientific evidence will only speed up that process.

| courtesy of Marco Allaiso/Pexels |


Created with an image by Michael Held - "untitled image"