After the warmest-ever January-March in the contiguous U.S., millions of Americans have experienced a summer of scorching, damaging and relentless heat. From the Southwest to the Northeast, more than 40,000 daily heat records have been broken around the county so far this year. It was reported that triple-digit heat at Reagan National Airport caused tarmac melting, trapping plane tires and delaying flights.
Drought, so severe that in places it rivals droughts of the Dust Bowl years, is ravaging more than half the country, causing the U.S. to declare the largest national drought disaster ever. With forests dry as kindling, 1.3 million acres burned in Colorado and across the country. And as crops fail, one plant biologist at the University of Illinois in Urbana made this alarming statement: “You couldn’t choreograph worse conditions…It’s like farming in hell.”
The record-breaking temperatures that we have seen are part of the dangerous warming trend that scientists have been carefully documenting for decades. Unfortunately, it’s only the beginning. But what’s worse, too many folks, including politicians and policy-makers, have ignored the science for decades. If there could be anything considered good about these extremes, it is that they are finally getting people’s attention. Finally, polling reveals that a majority of Americans believe that climate changes, or as some label it, global warming, is real. And they are right.
The only way to change the current course of destructive, extreme weather is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet – and it must be done now. Concerned citizens must demand that climate change becomes a top-tier governing priority. Strong limits must be enforced on climate pollution, and energy and fuel efficiency must be improved. A clean-energy future is an absolute necessity. We must stop global deforestation, which accounts for about 20% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. A grassroots army must be mobilized to demand that our national leaders take the climate crisis seriously and take meaningful action to address it.
No environmental challenge is bigger or poses a greater threat to our planet, and ourselves, than climate change. It’s the challenge of our time and it will ultimately require revolutionizing the way we generate and use energy. The United States should lead the world in this energy revolution, but we face a powerful and entrenched fossil-fuel lobby. Concerned Americans must stand together, united as one powerful movement for clean energy, to demand action from our political leaders. Nature is doing its part by speaking with a clear, strong voice and so must all Americans who can do something about a most serious problem.
In the fight to prevent the catastrophic threat of global warming, we must support groups that can get the message out and also lobby Congress. The extreme weather events we are seeing are powerful, tangible warning signs of the calamity we will face if we refuse to do what it takes to ensure a climate-stable future. This is a pivotal moment for change. Scientists say that climate change is happening more rapidly than predicted. We can no longer ignore the way global warming is transforming our world as we know it. If you aren’t already involved, I encourage you to do so!
Source: Environmental Defense Fund
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