California Gov. Gavin Newsom on climate emergency: 'California is America fast forward'
Fires have burned over 4.5 million acres in California, Washington and Oregon this calendar year blanketing parts of the United States with unhealthy smoke.
The state of California saw 118,000 acres burned to the ground in 2019. The year is far from over and the state has seen more than 25 times the amount of damage than the previous year. Bloomberg reports the damage from the fires could end up costing the states $50 billion.
After witnessing the brutal impacts of climate change first hand, California Governor Gavin Newsom had a forceful message for everyone. Americans need to get their act together quickly or the fires in California will become a reality for every single American regardless of where they live.
It is imperative to understand that this is not just a California problem. The problem in California impacts every single human worldwide.
The fires create an unimaginable amount of smoke that not only makes air quality unhealthy for many people on the west coast, but people all across the world. The smoke from the California fires has already made its way to Europe. So everyone must realize that a fire anywhere in the world has the ability to make anyone and everyone's quality of life worse. Fast forward five years and imagine the issue the world would have if there are multiple California like fires happening all at once across the globe.
If action is not taken NOW, the whole world will be living in these horrid conditions. The more smoke in the atmosphere, the more people that go to the hospital. That is something that will cost everyone money.
The more places that are burned down, the more money everyone has to spend to rebuild those places. The more smoke that exists, the harder it is for crops to get the needed sun to grow food assuming it wasn't already burned down. And these are just issues from the fires in California. We haven't even begun to account for the costs that come with more destructive hurricanes, storms, droughts, economic inequality stemming from climate change, impacts on happiness, etc.
Climate disasters in one area lead to climate disasters elsewhere. Vox says that the Australian wildfires from earlier this year are linked to the massive flooding in Africa that is happening today.
Mother nature is not something we can negotiate with. We can't say that one day we will figure out climate change and at that very instance we can reverse it. That is not how it works. Mother nature has been around far longer than humans. And it will continue to be around with or without humans. Mother nature does not care about us. And if we destroy it, it will destroy us back in much harsher terms.
California is just the tip of the iceberg, the world is at a tipping point
We are not at the point where people need to look at graphs, data, or take expert opinions to know that climate change is real. We are far past that point. All you need to do is look outside and read the news.
This is what has happened in 2020
More than 4.5 million acres have burned in California, Oregon, Washington
Two hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast at the same time (Why? because the warmer waters in the Gulf have created better conditions for hurricanes to gain strength)
Parts of Sudan are underwater from floods. It is the "highest" the waters have been in a century
For more on the Amazon rainforest, because it is crucial to the world's entire ecosystem, via CNN.
As the trend goes on, the Amazon is speeding toward a tipping point, when large areas of the rainforest will no longer be able to produce enough rain to sustain itself, according to Carlos Nobre, one of Brazil's leading climate scientists and researcher at the University of Sao Paulo.
Once that happens, the rainforest will begin to die, eventually turning into savannah, said Nobre."
The Amazon serves as an "air conditioner" for the planet, scientists say, influencing global temperature and rainfall patterns. And a healthy Amazon also absorbs carbon dioxide, while fires do the opposite, releasing massive quantities of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
“I strongly believe we’re going to look back in 10 years, certainly 20 and definitely 50 and say, ‘Wow, 2020 was a crazy year, but I miss it,’” Colorado University environmental sciences chief Waleed Abdalati said.
University of Michigan environment dean Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist, said via NBC that in 30 years because of the climate change already baked into the atmosphere “we’re pretty much guaranteed that we’ll have double what we have now.”
What can we do about it?
Vote the right people into office who will lead the country and the world in the right direction.
If the world does not unite, climate change will defeat us. So ask yourself this question, can Donald Trump unite the world? No he can't. He can't even unite America.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, has a thorough climate change plan and a message of unity.
“We can’t just change lightbulbs," Newsom said. "We also need to change leadership, and not just on the national level. If people are still in denial and they’re in charge of keeping you safe then they’re not the right people to lead us forward.”
Ryan is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Business Journalism. He has written in the past for SB Nation's Silver and Black Pride, USA Today Sports Media Group, North Carolina Business News Wire, the Daily Tar Heel, and has worked with Ice Cube's BIG3 basketball league.