Dealing with climate change now

Kate Kamerman, Opinion Editor

With mild winters and a so-far sunny spring, Oregon is experiencing what some would say are the positives effects of climate change while the rest of the nation is coping with the absurd, raging snowstorms and impossibly dry spells with no rain at all. The impact of what is happening to our world is changing and will most definitely affect us in our lifetime, despite what many people are arguing.

It looks so nice from our side of the country, sun bathing in March, planting flowers before the first of spring, all while looking forward to a warm and blue skied summer. For us, in the Pacific Northwest, the only thing we have to worry about is what level of sunscreen to wear as the warmer days will become warmer and the cold days will be less cold as temperatures slowly creep up. With the lowest amount snowfall yet, this past winter produced barely any cold weather that would amount to a real winter. The snowpack level is 16% of the normal record and concerned not only snowboarders and skiers, but all Oregonians as no melting snow was rushing down to support streams, meadows, and other sources that rely on places like Mt. Hood.

“Oregon is supposed to become dryer and the run off water from Mt. Hood will disappear, effecting the salmon run, electricity and irrigation,” said LHS science teacher Sarah Mock. “The reason for this is that the circular air movement swinging the arctic air farther south is redistributing heat around the globe, thus changing patterns like jet streams, water currents, and trade winds.”

Although the sun is making it really difficult to see the downside to these climate changes, this appealing weather is affecting the amount of water for irrigation, the risk of wildfires, rising sea levels, and timber rotted by hungry insects. Aware of what threatens Oregonians future, the state is gradually transitioning into California, our southern neighbor, adapting to warmer weather in a dryer climate. As for California itself, the state will become much more like the deserts of Arizona as they take on this drought.

On the other side of the country, some three thousand miles away, colossal storms of snow, wind, and rain bashed the east coast and no one was prepared. Flattening the land, taking out telephone poles, and cracking trees the heavy rain, loud thunder and high winds annihilated the region. Not an isolated storm, the first few months of the year brought evacuation warnings, snowed in days and huge amounts of damage to cities up and down the coast. All a result of the changes in our global climate, life was brought to a halt in stark contrast to the west coast’s reaction to the sunny days.

According to the National Climate Assessment, those conditions will shift as they face compromised ecosystems, unbearable heat waves, flooding and due to their hurricane vulnerability possible damage and wipeouts from that.

What actually is happening involves a much more complex description of what is happening in the current moment. Although it is nice for us Oregonians right now, it does not mean it will remain this pleasant way. With changes in our atmosphere, carbon confining carbon dioxide allows energy through the holes beyond our skies, thus letting greenhouse gases encourage the Earth to heat as a self-defense response. As a result, us on the surface witness ice and glaciers melt overtime causing the sea levels to rise and land to dry out. Earth will soon see global temperature rises, shrinking Arctic ice, ocean acidification, and an overall disaster among the natural world, therefore hurting ours.

Climate change exists and it’s knocking on our door begging for us to make a change. Carpool, recycle and think twice about how you dispose of your trash. It is easier to make a difference in order to preserve the planet that will die before we do if we don’t take of her.