Plague & fires — No this is not the apocalypse. This is climate change. - Front Page Live

Plague, fires & drought — No this is not the apocalypse. This is the climate emergency.




Visual depiction of climate change

Canva

Step outside of your front door in 2050. The first thing you may notice is the sky — you haven’t seen a patch of blue in years. All the colors have swirled together to make one murky brown. Where you once saw buildings streets away, now there is only a heavy smog.

You reach inside your pocket for a mask. No, the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 is behind us. Now you wear a mask every day for different reasons. Before you inhale more of that foul-tasting air on your doorstep you strap the gas mask around your face.

According to most experts on our environment, this is where we are headed.

Now take a moment to imagine a 2050 future where we elected leaders in 2020 with bold climate plans. There are plenty of solutions and plans that will help us create a carbon neutral, regenerative world.  We know how to work towards a global society that addresses inequality, long-term growth, economic prosperity and well-being standards for everyone on the planet. Our climate crisis is in fact a choice.

  • Climate change is a huge threat to our children’s lives, especially those in vulnerable communities like many Latinx.
  • Voting is the #1 way to protect our kids on a large scale.
  • There is a movement of Latinx Madres across the country who are pinky promising their kids to #VoteLikeAMadre for candidates with bold plans to fight climate change.

Let’s follow their example.

For those that still think climate change is something to worry about in the distant future, keep reading for five examples of the climate crisis that are happening right now. And then find out what you can do about it.

Tropical storms are lashing the Atlantic in one deadly juggernaut

5 tropical storms in the Atlantic

Screenshot / Fox News

Hurricane Teddy is all over the news. Weren’t we just talking about Hurricane Sally? Or was it Vicky…unfortunately, all these names are true. For only the second time in recorded history, the Gulf coast is being ravaged by five deadly tropical cyclones — all at the same time.

Hurricanes Paulette and Sally, and Tropical Storms Teddy and Vicky, and the Tropical Depression Rene. The satellite images are eerily colorful with all five tropical systems active together. This is the worst hurricane season in the Gulf since 1971.

Bermuda was rocked by Hurricane Paulette.

Paulette did not simply make landfall on the island. The eye of the hurricane was a terrifying 35-40 mile wide and engulfed the entire archipelago of islands. Currently a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 105 mph, Paulette is predicted to strengthen into a major hurricane with winds of over 111 mph.

The world watches now as Teddy advances towards Bermuda.

Just days after the small island community recovers from Hurricane Paulette, Bermuda could be hit by a second hurricane. Teddy is predicted to make landfall early next week.

Hurricane Sally leaves half a million Americans without power.

The Tropical Storm Sally advanced over the Gulf of Mexico, gathering momentum until the powerful storm hit hurricane status. Sally left 500,000 Americans stranded in the dark and caused flooding across the Gulf coast. Florida saw four months of rain in four hours. The combination of power surges with lashing rain could prove deadly as flooded electricity poles could charge the water giving a fatal shock to people too near.

A body washed up on Orange Beach in Alabama and the catastrophic flooding washed away part of a bridge along the Florida-Alabama coast.

As Hurricane Sally began to lose momentum, tropical storm Vicky and tropical depression Rene filled its place. Fortunately, neither Vicky nor Rene has posed as much of a threat to coastal communities or caused significant damage.

Century events are now coming every 16 years.

1971 was the last time five tropical storms unleashed such combined fury along the Gulf Coast. The changing climate is causing bigger storms to come closer together. The warmer sea surface means more water is absorbed into the atmosphere, which creates more powerful hurricanes. Category 4 hurricanes like Harvey which hit Texas in 2017 used to be a once in a hundred years event.

We can now expect them every 16 years.

Monstrous wildfires

Apocalyptic scenes in California as "fire thunderstorms" drown out the sun

Screenshot / Twitter

Remember the Australian wildfires? In what Australians call their “Black Summer” unprecedented bushfires ripped across the state of Victoria between December 2019 and March this year. Over 46 million acres were burnt, and nearly 3 billion animals were killed or displaced by the fires.

Australia isn’t the only place battling catastrophic wildfires.

Last year, the world watched in terror as the largest rainforest on the planet was engulfed in flames — the Amazon fires have started again in 2020. Vast swathes of the Amazon are already lost to deforestation (a ‘football pitch every minute’ according to one estimation).

Scientists believe that up to 99% of the Amazon fires were deliberately caused by farmers to clear land for livestock.

And then we have the West Coast of North America where the fires are so bad, smoke is reaching Europe.

Today, climate change has come knocking on America’s door. The West Coast Fires have ravaged the states of Washington, Oregon, and California. San Francisco residents woke up to dystopian blood-orange skies as the fire-thunderstorms blocked out the sun.

Five million acres have burnt and entire towns decimated, between northern Washington and northern California. Satellite images show the smoke has traveled over 5,000 miles to the UK. There is much hope for predicted rainfall, but David Roth, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, warns that the “burn scars” from the fires could cause flash floods and mudflows.

The Director of Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology spoke about the house-to-house ignition as explosive fires ripped through towns in Oregon — leaving residents with the worst air quality in the world. He warned that these wildfires are only going to get worse.

Greenland is melting

NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland campaign flew over a region of open water at the calving front of Helheim Glacier on Aug. 15, 2019, dropping a temperature probe that detected warm water.

NASA /Josh Willis

Greenland is melting faster than ever before, and climate scientists are watching in terror. If the Greenland ice sheet continues to melt at the current rate, up to 400 million people will be underwater in 80 years. The sea levels will rise to the point that entire cities could be submerged by 2050. Worst-case scenarios see major metropolises like New York City and San Diego underwater within a century.

Just a few days ago, a huge chunk of ice broke away from the Arctic’s final ice-shelf in Greenland. The record heat over the last two years is causing the ice sheet to fragment and disintegrate. Last year alone, the ice sheet shed over 530 billion tonnes.

Not only is the island shedding billions of tonnes of ice and causing the sea level to rise, but the remaining ice is also hardening. The National Geographic published an analysis last year: ‘Something strange is happening to Greenland’s Ice Sheet.’ Glaciologists concluded: “We’re watching an ice sheet rapidly transform its state in front of our eyes, which is terrifying.”

Antarctica is melting

Antarctica landscape photo

Wikimedia

This year, the European Space Agency released satellite images of the Antarctic over the last 25 years. As the global population grows and the use of fossil fuels warms up the planet, Antarctica is melting faster than ever before.

Since 1994, the ice shelves have lost nearly 4,000 gigatons. This is enough ice water to fill the Grand Canyon. If the world warms up enough to melt all the ice in Antarctica, Greenland, and all the mountain glaciers, the sea level will rise by 70 meters.

All the coastal cities will be underwater.

The colossal Thwaites Glacier is thought to be the most important in the world. Described as the ‘Doomsday Glacier’, Thwaites is the size of Britain and alone counts for 4% of the world’s sea-level rise. Glaciologists and climate scientists are concerned, Thwaites is changing faster than predicted.

Glaciers flow into the sea through an “ice pump.” When the water entering the ice is warmer than usual, the glacier can behave strangely.

David Holland, an oceanographer with New York University, is leading the British Antarctic Survey. He warns, “It can set glaciers on fire, increasing melt rates by as much as a hundred-fold.”

Mass extinctions

A photo of a rhino

Canva

A new study warns that in the next 50 years, a third of all animals will be forever lost due to man-made climate change. In other words, our cars, burgers and holidays will cause the death of nearly half of all the creatures silently walking this earth.

One species could be responsible for the sixth mass extinction in the history of the planet.

Humans have destroyed ecosystems through urban sprawl and the illegal wildlife trade. Now, man-made climate change is wreaking devastation on other species. Rising temperatures cause animals to migrate to escape the heat, and whole species are wiped out in the process.

A team of Stanford scientists co-authored a report warning the earth is heading for another mass extinction. The devastation to animal life is not only tragic but poses an extreme danger for the human population too. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a grim example of how we need to protect the fragile ecosystem.

The world needs healthy and varied ecosystems. Without these, we lose the ability to feed the global population and protect it from diseases. Professor Erlich is a Stanford biologist who led the study. As he put it,

When humanity exterminates populations and species of other creatures, it is sawing off the limb on which it is sitting, destroying working parts of our own life-support system.

Hope is not lost: Be the change you want to see

Climate protest

Flickr / Takver

Hand-wringing and finger-pointing will not save the planet, but we don’t have to leave it to Greta Thunberg to make a difference. Governments need a united, international response through respecting accords like the Paris Climate Agreement. Yet for every great action, a thousand tiny footsteps pushed the giant forward.

Every one of us can do our part and stop the destruction of our home.

Mother Earth gives, and too often all we do is take. We can set an example to save the planet for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren before it is too late. Here are five simple steps you can begin today.

1. Watch what you eat

The global trend of veganism is going to prove great for waistlines and the climate! As anyone who has seen “Cowspiracy” knows, meat production is the biggest contributor to climate change. Here’s a fact that will make that veggie burger taste better than the real thing: ‘eating beef 3-5 times a week for a year is the equivalent of driving a car 6,618 km (4,112 mi), whereas eating nuts 3-5 times a week for a year is the equivalent of driving 12 km (7 mi).’

2. Finish what’s on your plate

A shocking one-third of the food around the world is thrown away. Not only is that appalling given that 10,000 children die from hunger every three seconds. The lost energy from the food production chain means that food waste contributes to 8% of climate change.

On a micro-level , you can buy less, plan your meals, and be creative with your leftovers. On the macro level, governments can mandate home recycling and ban food dumping on landfills.

3. Buy green

Organizations like the RainForest Alliance, FairTrade, and Flocert all support sustainable practices. Products certified by these organizations are guaranteed to meet minimum standards for farmers and the environment alike.

If you are careful about the companies you support, you can ensure you are not contributing to damaging environmental practices, unfair prices, or child labor.

4. Cut out plastic

When you come home from the grocery store laden with plastic bags, or your Amazon package arrives wrapped three times over in plastic packaging, it will all likely end up as microplastics in our oceans. There are around 270 billion tonnes of plastic floating in the oceans. The plastic pandemic is a huge contributor to climate change; single-use plastics contribute to greenhouse gas emissions at every step of their cycle.

At the government level, many countries are banning single-use plastics. Giant supermarket chains are cutting out unnecessary plastic packaging. You can do it too: take your own bag to the store, skip the gift wrap at checkout, stop buying bottled water, and carry your own coffee mug for your flat white.

5. Vote Like A Madre

It’s simple. Encourage your local and national communities to make the right choices. Support organizations that are trying to make a difference.

The  #VoteLikeAMadre movement is a great example to follow and join.

  • Climate change is a huge threat to our children’s lives, especially those in vulnerable communities like many Latinx.
  • Voting is the #1 way to protect our kids on a large scale.
  • Madres across the country are pinky promising their kids to #VoteLikeAMadre for candidates with bold plans to fight climate change. And challenging friends to do the same.

No matter what we look like or where we come from, most of us believe America should be a place where everyone counts, where our kids are able to breathe clean air, grow up in a stable economy, and experience the natural world.

So please, take the Pinky Promise with your kids. Vote like your life depends on it because it does. Make your plan to #VoteLikeAMadre.

Disclaimer: This sponsored article was produced and distributed in partnership with Latino Victory Project, in support of the Vote Like a Madre campaign.

You May Also Like:

*****
Back To Front Page