Climate change needs to be everyone’s priority. Now.
The megadrought in the southwestern part of the country is only one symptom of a more widespread problem. Look at just one species of animals to see the impact in North America. Two thirds of North American bird species are threatened with extinction due to increasing temperatures, fires and rising sea levels. The declines in the bird populations across the continent are showing us that the worsening environmental situation is far more extensive than most of us realize.
A few other symptoms should make our jaws drop. The water level at Lake Mead dropped by 26 feet last year and is projected to drop another 26 feet next year. Many other states are also experiencing drought conditions, record high temperatures and massive wildfires. Across the country, temperatures are getting hotter (June 2022 was the 6 th hottest month in over 143 years). These are all having a negative impact on the health and welfare of our nation’s population. While there may be successes here and there, it does not look like the overall situation is getting any better. We all need to do more. Our actions caused many of these problems and by changing our actions we can influence future outcomes.
But what can we do? How can we as individuals do our part individually, locally, regionally, and nationally? Start by getting information about the causes of climate change. Increase your efforts to conserve water and electricity, use smart/energy saving appliances, or consider an electric vehicle for your next car, advocate for the funding of clean energy projects. We also need to make our voices heard with government officials. This is not a time to relax and point fingers at other people, states, or industries. We need to act on short-term and long-term solutions simultaneously.
We know that longer term initiatives are expensive. No matter how you look at it, we all will pay the price. We will pay it either now or later. Decreased water and electricity from the Hoover Dam will continue to result in higher electrical and water rates. Food prices will continue to increase as droughts continue to expand. The price of using fossil fuels will increase and the emissions from their use will continue the vicious cycle of polluting the air making the atmosphere hotter until there is a massive conversion to clean energy systems. Either way, we must pay the price. The least we can do is plan to make it better for the future.
I do want to end on a positive note. Every day more people are concerned and becoming engaged, more businesses and industries are committing to reducing carbon emissions and more government officials are listening to the public calls for action.
Look at these websites to learn more about what others in our community are doing and to see what you can do to fight climate change.
Clark County's All-in Community
World Wildlife's What if we don"t act now
Red Rock Carbon Offset Pledge.
Our actions have contributed to our current situation and that means we can improve it. Let’s do our part and become part of the solution for climate change. Act now.
by Mary Marquez Bell