Droughts, Fires and Hurricanes Due to Climate Change
Have you noticed an increase in extreme weather events? Not only the frequency of them but also the severity? It’s a phenomenon that is being seen around the world.
Warmer temperatures wreak havoc on our planet. They enhance evaporation, which reduces surface water and dries out soils and vegetation. Crops and livestock can suffer, causing food prices to soar. Communities may have to limit their water consumption for drinking, cooking and watering lawns or plants. As our lands dry up, the risk of devastating fires increases, bringing its own set of problems.
Wildfires are an important part of our ecosystem. They release valuable nutrients into our forests, provide an opening in the canopy to encourage new growth and some plant and animal species actually depend on the benefits that come from these fires for their survival. The problem is that due to climate change, our lands are suffering more from drought, which causes wildfires to break out more often and become much more destructive. We typically think about the property destruction that comes with these fires, but there are other issues as well. Smoke causes serious health risks to seniors, children and anyone with heart or lung diseases. Burned vegetation also increases the risk of flooding and mudslides.
Hurricanes (also known as typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean and eastern Asia, or cyclones in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific) have always posed a serious threat to populations living close to the sea. Now, with the effects humans are having on the environment these storms are becoming bigger and stronger each year. We have more category 4 (wind speeds of 209-251 kms/130-156mph) and 5 hurricanes (wind speeds of 252kms/157mph or higher) and less category 1 and 2. Given that category 4 or 5 hurricanes cause catastrophic damage including power outages, flooding, destruction of property and loss of life, we can’t ignore the role we play in this change. In fact, it’s time we do more to slow, and possibly reverse, some of the damage that we’re doing to our environment.
The whole is more than the sum of its parts.
You may be wondering if you, as just one person, can make a difference. The answer is yes. With small changes in daily habits, investing in climate change initiatives as well as connecting with and supporting like-minded individuals, you are doing your part to leave this planet in better condition for future generations. When we all join together, we can make an impact.
In next month’s blog we’ll take a deeper dive into ways you can contribute positively to this beautiful world we live in.
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