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The County Chronicle

The County Chronicle

Climate Change is real and has been negatively impacting us for decades

Hurricane Katrina, the largest and the third strongest hurricane in American history killed 1,329 people, causing 29% of the population of New Orleans to decrease from the fall of 2005 through 2011. The storm caused more than $160 billion in damages. More than 800,000 housing units were destroyed or wiped out. Families lost homes and family members. The families who couldn’t evacuate were provided with shelter at the Louisiana Superdome.

What might have caused this, people may ask? According to the National Weather Service, the combination of a tropical wave and an upper-level trough combined with mid-level remnants of tropical depression formed on August 23, 2005, 200 miles away in the southeast of Nassau specifically in the Bahamas, eventually reaching New Orleans.

Natural disasters like these are usually impacted by high sea levels, which are affected by climate change. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, two different mechanisms cause the sea levels in the oceans to rise. The first mechanism happens when warm temperatures cause the seawater to expand, taking up more space in the ocean and causing an increase in water levels. The second mechanism happens when ice over land melts into the water, adding more water to the ocean.

Sea levels have risen by a lot since the 20th century. According to NASA, the sea levels in the 20th century were rising at 1.5 millimeters per year. In the 1990s they increased by 2.5 millimeters per year, and in the past decade, they have increased by about 3.9 millimeters per year.

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Current high sea levels have caused more natural disasters to occur in different states around the US. Hurricane Harvey is one of the most recent hurricanes that has occurred in the US. In 2017 Hurricane Harvey caused $125 billion in damage and displaced more than 300,000 families in Houston, Texas, according to the National Hurricane Center.

According to NOAA’s Science & Information for a Climate-Smart Nation, the number of costs of weather and climate change natural disasters is only rising due to the combination of population growth around the world and the development along with influences of human-caused climate change.

Human-caused climate change refers to human activities that have caused climate change according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Human activities such as burning fossil fuels over the past 150 years have increased the presence of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

From February 1, 2021, to May 26, 2021, the Pew Research Center located in Washington D.C. conducted a climate change survey to see what percentage of Americans are concerned about climate change. 60% of Americans are concerned about climate while 39% aren’t as concerned.

According to the World Health Organization, climate change affects the health of humans and the environment. The 60% of Americans who are concerned about climate change issues understand that these issues can contaminate the air we breathe in, the water we drink, and the food we consume. On the other hand, the 39% of Americans who aren’t concerned are probably misinformed about the topic.

The 39% of Americans who aren’t too concerned about climate change probably acknowledge natural climate change but are misinformed about anthropogenic climate change. According to Energy Education, anthropogenic climate change is climate change linked to human activities such as the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

According to Joe Pierre, a health sciences clinical professor at the University of California, the topic of anthropogenic climate change is less accepted due to the lack of awareness. According to Pierre, scientists fail to inform the public about “anthropogenic theory”, the theory that goes into detail about human activities polluting the earth.

Inventors such as Charles Fritts have taken action on the climate change issue. Charles Fritts produced the photovoltaic effect with a device known as solar panels today. Solar panels help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protecting humans, animals, and ecosystems. Organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofitable environmental advocacy group, have worked to stabilize the environment’s climate by finding environmental solutions that will help combat global warming and high sea levels in oceans.

Even though there’s technology that helps reduce climate change, the issue will continue to negatively impact the Earth. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the US lives off of burning fossil fuels for power and transportation, which produces large amounts of carbon dioxide. If Americans proceed to produce more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, global warming will continue to increase.

Climate change is real. If this crisis continues, then future generations will face bigger consequences. According to the Save The Children Fund, extreme temperatures will most likely leave many families in poverty in the future, with less food, less clean water, and less income. Extreme natural disasters will continue to destroy homes and families. Americans, including people around the world, can take action by reducing the amount of electricity being used, reducing the amount of fossil fuels being burned every day by taking public transportation, and consuming less meat.

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About the Contributor
Karen Martinez, staff writer
Karen Martinez is a junior at Loudoun County High School. This is her second year in the newspaper staff, she plans to become an investigative journalist in the future.

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