Do you remember what summer felt like? Waking up to birds chirping, the summer heat that made you warm and fuzzy and maybe even a little tired? Well, it’s about to get a whole lot hotter and a whole lot less comfortable than before. With climate change moving at a faster pace, temperatures are increasing with it to dangerous heights and extending the summer season well beyond its usual months. That sweet summer feeling is slowly becoming a hot, hellish nightmare.
First off, what is climate change? Climate change can be defined as a long-term change in the temperature and/or weather usually caused by human activity. As our time on earth increased, so did the temperature as a result of our carbon footprint. Every time we drive alone in our gas-powered cars (or large companies choose greed over finding clean solutions to running their factories) we’re actively contributing to the problem at hand. These choices are causing the earth to get warmer and slowly become a detriment to us all. Those unusually hot days and the days that can be classified as heat waves are the consequences of our actions. The carbon dioxide we produce gets released into the atmosphere. From there it traps and absorbs heat from the sun’s rays and with little to nowhere to go that heat steadily increases the Earth’s overall temperature.
Now remember that summer feeling I was talking about, about birds chirping? It wasn’t just a gimmicky line. Birds are being impacted by the rising temperature in a multitude of ways. During a heat wave, Tern chicks broke their wings jumping from rooftops in an attempt to escape the heat. In addition, the rising temperature makes it harder to find water (due to evaporation), making many birds dehydrated. In severe cases the heat may even cause some birds to die and in extreme cases, some species may go extinct.
With the high carbon footprint we create on earth, we’re leaving the wrong mark. Those warm summer days are numbered and sweltering days are on the rise. While there’s not much the average person can do to completely reverse climate change, together we can take small steps to slow it down; carpooling or changing your lightbulbs (or protesting factories to get their act together and writing to your council members.)
Climate change. American Bird Conservancy. (2018, October 18). Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://abcbirds.org/threat/climate-change/
Karlin, R. (2019, October 23). New York Birds at risk from climate change. New York Birds At Risk From Climate Change | Woodcock population and young forest habitat management – Timberdoodle.org. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://timberdoodle.org/news/new-york-birds-risk-climate-change
Lindsey, R. (2020, August 14). Climate change: Atmospheric carbon dioxide. Climate Change: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide | NOAA Climate.gov. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide#:~:text=Carbon%20dioxide%20is%20a%20greenhouse,that%20absorbs%20and%20radiates%20heat.&text=But%20increases%20in%20greenhouse%20gases,and%20raising%20Earth%27s%20average%20temperature
Thompson, J. (2021, August 13). Why heat waves amplified by climate change are a big problem for Baby Birds. Why Heat Waves Amplified by Climate Change Are a Big Problem for Baby Birds. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.audubon.org/news/why-heat-waves-amplified-climate-change-are-big-problem-baby-birds