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Climate Change is Here: It's Time to Adapt

By Sandra Ramos

Climate change, no longer really seen as a threat of the future, now calls on the people and government to say goodbye to the old world and take action and adapt to the one we have created.

According to the Climate Extremes Modeling Group at the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, if humans had not added to global warming with pollution of cars and factories, Hurricane Florence would have produced 50 percent less rain than it did.

Due to the burning of fossil fuels by humans, the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased significantly, by more than 40 percent. In recent studies, scientists have seen that warm water takes up more space than cold water does. This means that warm water makes up more of the ocean than cold water now, leading to the rise of ocean levels. With more warm water in the oceans, it evaporates more easily than cold water. This results in more moisture at a tropical storm’s disposal. This can be seen through Hurricane Florence and Harvey.

If we were to stop the usage of fossil fuels, it wouldn’t make much difference because of the spike of burning fuels has taken in recent years. Those who think that finding new sources of energy will lessen the effects of climate change are wrong. The damage has already been done; we cannot view climate change as something of the future. It is already here, making its rounds around the world.

There is nothing left to do but to adapt to these changes. We cannot stop nature from happening no matter what type of energy we start using and stop using. It will keep pushing, so we must go along with the changes, the world we have created. For the rest of our lives, we will see natural disasters and heatwaves happen like never before. They will be more frequent and more aggressive, leading to many deaths and destruction.

To live in the world we created, we need to demand that our government makes good decisions for both the physical and financial health of its people. Some places are making small adjustments to cope with worsening heat waves. India, where certain places have access to air conditioning, and New York, the concrete jungle, encourage painting roofs white and planting more vegetation. The color white reflects the heat from the sun, unlike concrete or rubber. The heatwaves become a bit more manageable, even if by a few degrees. Small steps lead to big impacts.

The government must also take into consideration the money available for renovations and projects. In places prone to flooding, such as New York and California, building new places to live and strengthening existing highways that are used every day must be taken in to account. While highways and interstates can be built to be stronger and more durable, people must move towards land rather than bodies of water, away from flooding and erosion. The government is responsible for the people’s safety and should set aside money for these projects.

Another problem that stems from flooding is the failure of crops and the amount of money put into saving the economy. In countries like India, the farming of rice has become more difficult because of the water becoming saltier. The government, working alongside farmers, is finding different crops that can grow in the new environment. Although expensive, it is still less expensive than spending millions to keep the failing crops from, well, failing. Climate change is making the government change its game plan to keep the economy strong and stable, gaining back the money spent on finding crops that can prosper in the environment.

While some of these actions won’t last long term, taking action is still much better than thinking that climate change hasn’t happened yet. The reality is that it’s here, and the only option we have left is to play catch up and keep adjusting.

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