Nine states around the country have reported record temperatures this autumn.
It was 108 degrees in parts of California on October 8th of this year.
Last time I checked the date, it was definitely still October— the time of year where it’s supposed to be cooling down around the United States.
Even in the land of perpetual summer, temperatures used to cool off come October. After a stifling summer the cool nights of autumn were long awaited. I sat this week, shaking my head at the stifling heat, wondering what had happened to those cool autumn evenings.
I wondered how the heck there could still be people on the Earth denying global warming.
We just had the warmest September on record, ever.
And not just a little warmer—but by a long shot. The analyzed data from Japan shows that September 2015 beat the previous record, set just one year ago, by 0.15 degrees Celsius (0.27 degrees Fahrenheit).
When you consider the 1981-2010 average autumn temperatures, the difference is huge—0.9 degrees Fahrenheit! There is no question about it—we’re getting hotter and hotter autumns.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has found a 97% chance that 2015 will break the all-time calendar year temperature record for the planet.
And while yes, it is an El Niño year, this weather phenomenon only affects temperatures in the Pacific regions, and cannot account for the higher temperatures recorded elsewhere.
What stumps me, is that regardless of this factual data, there are still states in the U.S. that will not acknowledge climate change— i.e. Florida, where use of the term climate change has been banned from official discussions and documents.
A state that lies at sea level will not acknowledge the very real threat of warming trends, which equal rising sea levels. Personally that frightens me a bit, and very seriously makes me doubt my faith in public officials.
As individuals, we have the right and freedom to choose our own actions to combat the problem and help to reverse some of the damage caused. If our officials want to remain in denial, we ourselves can at least take mindful action to help.
Personally, I take action by cutting back on fossil fuel usage by biking and walking rather than driving. I consume less plastic by using reusable bags and bottles. I try to cut back on energy usage where possible, and conserve water where I can. I also live on a boat, so my needs are minimal for power and water. But anyone can cut back and conserve without moving into a tiny house.
As a whole, the world needs to band together and start taking more robust measures to turn the situation around. The big players in the world really need to step it up, as ten countries emit almost 75% of all greenhouse emissions and without their contribution, we can’t transition to a sustainable future.
As the climate talks in Paris loom closer, the top hitters (China, the United States and India) need to up their commitments to reducing their carbon footprints. China seems committed, having invested more in the past couple years to curbing their emissions than any other leading country.
The United States has been accused by many of moving too slowly and still “investing massively in subsidizing the oil industry and taking baby steps instead of strides”, which is absolutely the truth in our case.
India, the fastest growing country, especially in emissions, has no concrete plans for curbing emissions, but has asked for outside help in developing a concrete plan.
Let us hope that the climate talks prove pivotal as we all step up and do our own parts to contribute.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: JoJo Rowden
Image: Flickr/Phil Plait