According to a “Pew Research Center” survey, of all the ways climate change inflicts harm, drought is the worse for our future. It is not surprising that droughts are drier and longer lasting than before due in part to climate change. In 2012, the central and western US was hit hard when 81 percent of the country was living in abnormally dry conditions, causing $30 billion in damages and putting the health and safety of many Americans at risk. While different factors can be attributed to droughts, scientists are currently discovering direct associations between them and climate change. According to an article posted in “The Climate Reality Project,” the link between climate change and drought is greenhouse gas: “as more greenhouse gas emissions are released into the air causing air temperatures to increase, more moisture evaporates from land, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Warmer temperatures also increase evaporation in plant soils, which affects plant life and can reduce rainfall even more.” Droughts have serious consequences for people’s livelihoods, affecting among other things, agriculture, water supply, transportation, and health.
People around the world are concerned about a variety of possible consequences of climate change, and drought tops the list. “1.3 billion people of the world’s population rely on agriculture as its main source of income.” Thus, the impact of drought on agriculture would lead to major food shortages. Severe droughts lead to water shortages in areas dependent on agriculture and “ put the health and well-being not only of animals and crops at risk, but of the farmers and communities that depend on them too.” In countries like India, drought is a major problem for farmers. India’s rainfed agriculture depends largely upon monsoon rainfall, where about two-thirds of the usable land lack irrigation facilities. Due to drought, Indian farmers cannot grow enough crops so the country has to import grains to save its citizens from hunger and starvation. The distribution of grains to Indian farmers is not sufficient, so most take out loans from banks to grow crops. Yet, when there is not enough rain it is almost impossible to grow them. According to “Wikipedia,” farmer suicides in India refers to the national catastrophe of farmers committing suicide since the 1990s, often by drinking pesticides, due to their inability to repay loans mostly taken from banks. As of 2018, in India alone, more than 60,000 suicides have taken place with an average of 10 suicides every day. This report reveals the grave impacts of climate change thus far. While we can’t say with absolute certainty what will happen in the future if the climate keeps changing, we can assume that if warming temperatures continue, they will create drier conditions over the next half century in some parts of the world, potentially reaching levels we haven’t seen in some regions in modern times. If we want to save ourselves and our future generations from major starvation, we must combat climate change. If our leaders take the right steps to cut the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change and live up to the rest of their commitments in the Paris Agreement, we can stay on the path to ending the crisis and help lessen the threat for longer and more dangerous droughts all around the world.