When Climate Change Becomes Personal

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Climate Change
Courtesy of Ken Lund (Flickr CC0)

I live in the Reno area of Northern Nevada. I was just reading an alarming article that was not surprising but nevertheless concerning. My area of the country is warming faster than any other in the U.S., according to the non-profit Climate Center. This makes climate change personal.

February of this year was the first February in our area’s history when we did not have a single measurable drop of precipitation. We have four distinct seasons, but our snowfall in the 2021/2022 season was very minimal.

July is our warmest month. We have not experienced a 100-degree day as I write this, but the temperatures are hovering in the mid-nineties. I have not read the statistics, but I’m sure that June was the warmest on record.

I am not a fan of the heat, but what concerns me more are the other side effects of climate change. In California, severe drought conditions resulted in requests by the state’s government to let their grass die. It sounds easier than it is. We have lived in our home since 1998 and spent hours working to keep all of our plants alive and green, including the grass. If we were asked to follow California’s example, it would be very difficult and even heartbreaking.

Climate Change
Courtesy of Trevor Bexon (Flickr CC0)

Changes in weather patterns like drought and flooding, and much more. Things that we depend upon and value: water, energy, transportation, wildlife, agriculture, ecosystems, and human health, are experiencing the effects of a changing climate. As the polar ice cap continues to melt, the oceans are rising. This year the Gulf Coast is expecting strong hurricanes as the water temperature continues to rise. Across the Midwest, tornadoes will be more powerful and more numerous.

As climate change becomes uncomfortable in Northern Nevada, areas prone to severe storms are expected to experience damage to homes and property and, unfortunately, loss of life.

While one entire political party chooses to ignore the undeniable fact that climate change is the result of excessive use of fossil fuels, intelligent humans around the world are demanding their governments take action and save the planet for posterity.

Some detractors would like you to believe that the issue of climate change is complicated. This is absolute bulls**t. We know the cause and therefore know the solution. However, governments choose to protect the biggest polluters of all, corporations who use everything from coal to unrefined oil to operate their factories, while the waste from these polluters is frequently pumped into our streams and rivers.

“The truth lives here,” and America as a respected nation and the most powerful and influential in the world no longer exists. America is a business in which the profits of corporations are of far greater importance than the future of 331 million people.

The people do care. Hybrid and electric vehicles are more in demand than the gas guzzlers of the past. They are not only cleaner and less dangerous to the environment, but they are also smoother to operate and much quieter. Lessening sound pollution is an added benefit. Every manufacturer of lawnmowers and other lawn and garden tools has increased production. These products are cleaner, lighter, and easier to use. There is no gasoline to buy or engines to repair every year.

Finally, a question: when did millions of Americans cease their concern for their children and grandchildren and place the money in their bank accounts of greater importance? At age 76, I will never see the most devastating effects of climate change, but those I love and leave behind will.

Op-ed by James Turnage, Novelist


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Climate change impacts
KOLO 8 ABC News: Reno: The fastest warming city in the U.S.? By Ed Pearce

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Ken Lund’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Trevor Bexon’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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