Since the start of August, over one million acres of precious land in California has been burned to ashes due to the wildfires. Scientists have noted that California has recently had some of the hottest temperatures recorded in human history and that is due to climate change, which has also been one of the main factors in the amount of damage the fires have caused. Time is running out for our planet, and the need for change is now.
Climate change is the change in average conditions, such as rainfall and temperature over a long period of time. While 80% of wildfires are caused by people, the conditions created by climate change make them harder to put out. The hotter temperatures have made it so there is less dependable precipitation, therefore snowpack melts sooner and faster making it so the soil is dry and vegetation is parched.
Over time, this has created more fire fuel and increased the number of high-risk days for potential wildfires. The amount of land destroyed by wildfires has doubled since 2017 according to Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA. However, the seriousness of the situation continues to be overlooked as there is a lack of proactivity by those in power who refuse to acknowledge the problem and act on it.
President Donald Trump believes climate change is a hoax. And we as a nation continue to exploit Earth’s natural resources. Conditions have only worsened and will continue to do so unless we take meaningful action immediately to prevent temperatures from increasing.
Big companies that produce the most carbon dioxide emissions have stopped reporting their environmental impact as climate change has become a more serious topic. Tesla, Chevron, and ExxonMobil are some of the biggest companies and have branches outside of the U.S. In 2013, Chevron was responsible for 20% of the carbon emissions and has yet to change its structure to be more environmentally friendly.
These companies continue to make money and are not being pressured enough for them to curb their earth-destroying behavior.
The wildfires in California are an example of one major change that could get even worse in a few years if action is not taken. At the rate we are going, carbon emissions will push the effects of climate change to a point where they cannot be fixed and will increase the number of disastrous weather events and cause sea levels to rise.
We can do our part in slowing climate change from home too. Power your home with green energy. Many power companies give green options through solar and wind energy. The average household produces 7.5 tons of CO2 equivalents per year. Invest in energy-efficient appliances. Many refrigerators release tons of carbon dioxide in the air and almost reaches the amount produced by cars. Energy efficiency is one of the lowest cost ways to prevent and limit gas emissions. Reduce water waste! Leaky faucets and abnormally long showers encourage carbon pollution. It takes a lot of energy to release and heat water so shortening showers and managing water sources in homes is one of the important factors in stopping the unnecessary release of carbon. Pull the plugs on devices and appliances you aren’t using. The average American home powers 65 different devices at one time while only using half of them. The idle items withhold the energy measured to about 50 large power plants in the U.S. Be proactive and unplug or set timers for items that are not being used regularly.
We are running out of time to stop climate change from worsening, so now is the time to make our voices heard with our vote.