Climate change catches up

As we all know the weather has been more drastic lately and it is not a figment of our imagination. We have all witnessed the crazy weather of Oswego, however, it has been even crazier this year than in the past. Oswego is not alone. Places all around the world have been experiencing record-breaking weather. It is all due to climate change.

As a native of Oswego I can say that there has been a significant change in the winters. The term “winter” in Oswego means two things: bone-chilling cold and snow. Now you might be thinking, “That’s what winters are still like.” However it is very different in Oswego.

When I was younger, I could count on a snowman lasting in a yard for the duration of winter and being able to go sledding on powder snow every weekend. In these last couple of years, it has been hard to know if there was still going to be snow on the ground from day to day. The stable low temperatures kept snow on the ground from December until mid-March. The temperatures were bone chilling, but not painful. Lately the temperatures have been getting down in the negative teens with wind chill some days, while other days it has been in the mid 40s. The low-temperature days have been accompanied by winds that make it painful to go outside. These are all examples that climate change is a very real and prevalent issue.

According to The United States Environmental Protection Agency, climate change “refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer.” It also states that the Earth’s temperature has risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It may not seem like much, but it is enough to cause ice caps to melt and sea levels to rise. Oceans are becoming more acidic and animals are becoming extinct. Scientists have projected that the Earth will rise 2 to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Climate change affects everything in one way or another. It affects things that we may not even know about. For example, climate change affects forests. The change in the climate can cause forest fires and insect outbreaks. Agriculture is also affected. The change in the climate can shorten growing seasons and can ruin crops from lack of water of too much water. This is very bad for humans because consumers rely on agriculture to eat and producers rely on agriculture to make a living. Agriculture helps give the human body nutrition so it can stay healthy. Human health is also greatly affected by climate change. Climate change is projected to cause severe heart problems, breathing problems and allergies due to toxic airborne particles.

Every choice that humans make plays into the global warming crisis. Every time a person makes the decision to drive their car, they release toxic greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, making global warming worse. However, we are caught in a tough spot. We need transportation which requires burning fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels releases harmful gases into the atmosphere. The greenhouse gases create holes in the ozone layer, which then causes the Earth’s temperature to rise. These gases can stay trapped for up to a century causing damage the entire time. The consequences of our actions now will affect us for centuries to come.

There are ways we can help stop climate change, like walking instead of driving short distances, turning off lights when they are not in use and taking shorter showers. These things may seem simple. If most people do them, they will make a large impact and help stop the warming of our Earth and climate change. Our Earth is important and there is only one. We should take care of it.