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How Climate Change is Changing My Home City

As a person living in a coastal city, more specifically New York City, my area of living is a prime target for climate change occurrences. From rising sea levels and temperatures to structures being damaged or completely destroyed, a lot will change and has changed in my home, the reality being hard to ignore once you realize these changes. Being aware of these changes can help you prepare and avoid risks that come with climate change.

In terms of what has personally affected me, I find that the rising temperatures have caused much more air conditioner energy consumption, which increases the energy bills. I cannot begin to imagine the energy bills for a larger area or for an area that has many inhabitants which requires more energy to be spent. While the beach waters have become significantly warmer in the summer and I can stay longer in the water because it’s not as cold, staying underneath the sun on shore is extremely unbearable and dehydration is much more of a possibility without water or shade. This issue is exacerbated in the city due to the presence of concrete, which is notorious for heating up from direct sunlight and higher temperatures. All in all, the presence of unbearable heat in the summer is basically guaranteed in the city, which puts more stressors on our bodies and makes our lives harder.

Of course, it isn’t just us personally who will feel these changes. Our structures are also hit by this issue directly. The most obvious way they will be hit is through weather occurrences that aren’t common or as extreme in comparison to other regions of the world, and since we haven’t catered our structures to withstand anything of the sort, damages are not only likely but will be quite severe. There are also less extreme but slower ways our structures will be affected, such as smaller structural damage/decay that may occur from the temperature or from “common” occurrences such as rain. It’s impossible to guarantee that every building can stay up to date on structural checks even currently, so if these stressors are put on them, then accidents will be so much more common.

There’s also the very near possibility of the city’s coasts being underwater in the next century, meaning that plenty of homes will not be a viable living option for people two or three generations younger than the current generation. Relocation is a must, and it’s certain that with less inhabitable homes there will either be more homes inland or in places that aren’t as urbanized as Manhattan, or people completely moving away from the city to areas that won’t face rising sea levels. Either way, the rent will probably be too high for the majority of people to live in the city. Considering the rent prices currently, this is extremely concerning to think about and will probably bar the majority of financial classes from living here, restricted to only a top percent of earners. While I’m sure that this end result may happen even without climate change factoring into it due to the way our economy is currently, climate change certainly will not help and may either speed up or further the consequences.

I haven’t touched upon even half of what might happen and has happened within this piece of text in regards to NYC, and a big part of that is because I haven’t noticed the other changes actively. I’m certain that if we all take the time to note what has changed within our cities in regards to temperatures, weather occurrences, and how our cities have changed to combat this, we could produce a long list of grievances that require active engagement to change and cater to this list.

Image: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/can-new-york-be-saved-in-the-era-of-global-warming-240454/

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