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What is the Biggest Climate Change Threat Facing the United States?

The United States faces many climate threats and risks such as floods, droughts, and heat waves. Sea level rise is a threat not only to the United States but to the whole planet.

According to NASA’s 2020 website, the level of the sea can rise because of two causes: extra water from melted ice sheets and glaciers and the expansion of the seawater form the melting of the polar ice caps melts.

The run-on joke when the topic of discussion is sea level rising is, “we are going to have to learn how to swim”, does not scratch the surface of how much of a threat sea level rising is.

According to Harvey (2015), if the sea level rises to an extreme level it can contaminate our drinking water. As the sea level increases seawater may seep into water consumption resources such as springs and aquifers of fresh water and ground water, which is 78% of water systems used the United States according to the CDC (2020). If seawater seeps into our drinking water it can cause saltwater in our drinking supply, which is incredibly unhealthy to drink and if consumed in high quantities it can cause high blood pressure and hypertension. Not only will our water supply will be affected but the population living along side the coastal area will be affected.

Examples of these coastal areas can be beaches, shores, docks, and bays. According to Lindsey (2020), 40% of the United States population lives along coastal areas and they may be vulnerable to sea rise. These vulnerabilities can be destruction by flooding of facilities used for power plants, impacting local jobs, and homes. Roads and subway systems can also be threatened by sea level rise. Although the sea level continues rising there are some temporary solutions as well as long-term solutions to reduce this issue.

Sea level rising poses as a threat to the United States, therefore we must react to the threat by finding solutions to withstand sea level rise.  For example, a temporary solution mentioned by the First Street Foundation (2018), is building Seawalls to prevent the seawater from overflowing into cities and coastal areas. Over time the sea walls will decay because of constant waves hitting against the wall but the walls can be replaced and would be a temporary barricade to protect the land.

But sea walls do not reduce the sea level rise itself. A solution Amadeo (2020) mentioned, was to cut fossil-fuel use completely. Meaning cutting off gasoline powered vehicles and using more sustainable powered vehicles like bicycles and electric cars can contribute to a long-term solution to reducing carbon pollution. As the Earth’s atmosphere becomes warmer caused by the greenhouse effect, the polar ice caps melt and sea water increases. Therefore, reducing carbon pollution reduces the threat of sea level rise.

Therefore, as the sea level continues to rise due to polar ice caps melting which raises the level of the sea, the threat against the United States and global coastal areas becomes more prevalent. Examples of these threats can range from seawater contaminating our drinking water and destroying infrastructures along coastal areas. We all need to do our part and reduce carbon emissions to lessen the green house effect. This can be done with long-term solutions by cutting fossil fuels completely, and travel by electronic vehicles or physically powered vehicles like bicycles. Although global warming and sea level rise is the result of using fossil fuels that feeds more greenhouse gases to the earth’s atmosphere, we can use the upcoming years to lessen our use of fossil fuels to reduce global warming.

Work Cited:

Amadeo, K. (2020). Rising Sea Level and What You Can Do About It. Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://www.thebalance.com/sea-level-rise-and-climate-change-4158037

CDC. (2009, April 10). Water Sources. Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/public/water_sources.html

Foundation, F. (2018, November 24). Solving for Sea Level Rise. Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://medium.com/firststreet/solving-for-sea-level-rise-b95600751525

Harvey, C. (2015, February 17). Sea-level rise will cause more than flooding – these 5 other impacts of rising oceans are just as bad. Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://www.businessinsider.com/5-terrifying-impacts-of-rising-sea-levels-2015-2

Lindsey, R. (2020, August 14). Climate Change: Global Sea Level: NOAA Climate.gov. Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-sea-level

NASA. (2020, July 29). Sea Level. Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/

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