Although the effects of climate change may not be immediately apparent to the untrained eye, we can already see many ways climate change has taken a toll on America over the past several years. Even if many of us can’t directly see or experience these effects, they do have an impact on all of us regardless, whether these impacts are in the long term or felt immediately. Some of the more general effects include longer summers, more coastal flooding, sea level rise, droughts, more natural disasters, and more wildfires. We can see examples of some of these effects in America today.
According to National Geographic, one of the effects occurring even now is an increased risk of wildfires in California. In 2019, there were over 6,000 recorded instances of wildfires. This lead to huge economic and societal repercussions. Millions were spent in order to curb these fires during the year and several people were injured while the flames ran their course. Another incident caused by climate change were the major droughts that slowed agricultural production in Iowa. Many farmers are unable to raise their crops during these long droughts, and this weakens the agricultural economy to the point where these farmers cannot provide for themselves or for their families. In as recently as 2018, farmers experienced one of the worst droughts in 30 years. They saw no rain at all for over a month. Many had to watch their crops wilt in front of them whilst they were unable to stop it. This article also highlighted the issues we may be facing in the future as a result of climate change.
Some southeastern states were projected to be in for a major increase in coastal flooding. For example, Charleston, South Carolina may end up experiencing 180 tidal floods per year by the year 2045. This is a huge jump from the 11 per year it experienced back in 2014. In the Southern Great Plains, the rising temperatures and extreme heat could lead to thousands of deaths and more lost work hours by the end of the century. Our greenhouse gas emissions are what created this problem and if something doesn’t change, we can expect all the negative effects soon. This isn’t just a future problem; it already affects many different sectors of daily life in America, yet we continue to allow it to do so. The agriculture, forest and fishing sectors of our economy have already taken severe hits and continue to do so because of climate change. This affects both our food supply chain and the very air we breathe. If something doesn’t change the losses, economic instability will continue to increase.
Even in my own day to day life I can feel the subtle effects of climate change. Throughout the years the summers have felt much longer, and the temperatures overall have been much higher. This past winter has been one of the warmer winters I have experienced during my lifetime so far. In some areas closer to the water, buildings are being demolished in order to make way for the coast that is slowly rising due to the increased temperatures. I can only assume that over time these effects will be even more pronounced. New York is one of the many places that will feel huge repercussions from this in the days to come. It is up to us to make a change in our carbon emissions, so these future projections don’t come to pass.