Global Warming: Who Cares?

Global Warming: Who Cares?

Zoe Casebolt

We all hear about the effects of climate change: the rising sea levels in Pakistan, the droughts in China, and the heat waves in the United Kingdom. If none of these issues are affecting daily life, why should we care? While this seems heartless, it’s a legitimate question. Why should Grandview students care if the climate crisis is not affecting their community? 

To understand the effects of climate change on us, we also have to understand what exactly it is.

“Climate is the average atmospheric conditions over many years, from decades to millennia,” AP Environmental teacher James Pembrook said.

Climate change is the shift of those atmospheric conditions from the “normal” conditions the Earth has experienced over its history. 

Pembrook stresses that the climate is changing more rapidly than usual due to human pollution. The unnatural change has led to more intense weather, rising sea levels, essential supply issues, etc. These issues are arising locally in Colorado. 

“The biggest effects that we have already seen [in Colorado] are earlier snow melts, more rapid snowmelts, receding glaciers, and the complete melting of snow or ice where there was previously snow cover year-round on high mountain peaks,” Pembrook said.

These changes in the water cycle and climate have led to an unexpected loss in the Colorado River, the water source for over 30 million people, including those in Colorado. The temperature rise has also created longer dry seasons, making Colorado forests more prone to large fires. 

“The long dry spells we have make it so much easier for fires to burn, especially since underbrush just keeps piling up,”AP Environmental student Sofia Hassan said. 

Air quality in Colorado is dramatically impacted by wildfires every year, and with the dry season becoming longer, the air will only become less than suitable for activities outside.

However, the Grandview community as a whole is not yet impacted physically. Overall, our community does not struggle for water, food, or other essentials. But some students have had to worry about family and friends in areas that are affected. 

“Personally, I have family in Pakistan who were affected by the floods. My cousin was stuck in the mountains because the bridges that would take him back home to the city were flooded,” Hassan said.

Additionally, part of her family in Skardu was evacuated from their homes, having to leave their entire lives behind. 

 “Climate change has yet to physically affect me, but it’s been causing me and my family stress because it endangers the people we care about overseas,” Hassan said. 

Although, the physical effects of climate change will not stop in already affected countries, and they will soon begin  to work into our everyday lives if action is not taken. Colorado has already displayed some negative changes due to climate change, which are only expected to worsen over time.

“Climate change is one of, if not the, greatest existential threat that students at Grandview will face during their lifetime,” said Pembrook.