Climate change is not only a problem for future generations. It is affecting all of us right now. There is danger in becoming used to the changes in climate. We need to realize our “new normal” is not normal at all. The latest IPCC report said immediate action within the next ten years is required if we are to have a livable future. We already have the solutions, but we lack political and individual will to implement them. This has to change immediately. Each one of us can help limit climate change. There are many options to choose. Every action is important.
Climate changes I have noticed
I am a Delaware County Master Gardener and am very in tune with nature. I see fewer birds, bumblebees, and butterflies every year. Plants are blooming earlier in my native plant garden. Pollinators that depend on these plants for their lives are becoming out of sync with flowers. If pollinators can’t find food when they need it, they die.
The heat and humidity in mid-summer is now so intense I can’t maintain a vegetable garden. Over the last decade, my growing season has changed from 6 A to 7B, and is close to becoming 8A. This means some plants will no longer grow in my area.
I have been without electricity due to severe storms. A mini tornado snapped my huge rhododendron off at ground level. One summer my drains overflowed from 5 inches of rain in an hour.
I am being adversely affected by the pollution from the Chester Covanta incinerator, as are many others in our area. I can smell discharge from the incinerator when I open my window. We are having more air quality day alerts in our area due to pollution. I have friends whose health has been severely impacted by air pollution.
I am affected emotionally by what others in our country are suffering—intense wildfires, tornadoes, floods, droughts, severe hurricanes, loss of life and property from severe weather, health problems caused by pollution.
Fossil fuels and climate
Fossil fuels are one of the major contributors to climate disruption. Fossil fuels and fracking for gas and oil not only add carbon dioxide and methane to the air, they also pollute the environment and affect our health. One important step to take for a better future is changing from fossil fuels to clean energy. Benefits of clean energy include:
- Reduction in warming of the planet
- Reduction in greenhouse gases
- New (green) jobs—lots of them
- Reversal of biodiversity loss
- Healthier ecosystems
- Improved quality of life
- Cleaner air
- Less exposure to pollution
- Better health
- Less medical expenses
- Correction of historic injustices to minorities
A reduction in air pollution occurs quickly when there are less fossil fuel emissions. Do you remember we had much cleaner air after just a few months of reduced emissions during COVID lockdowns? I noticed the sky was much more clear.
Act now for a better future
Climate change affects every one of us. The response so far from federal and state governments has been too slow. The more we act now and speak up for action on climate, the more pressure we create on leaders to act. There are many organizations, people and communities from all over the world contributing expertise, innovations, positive action, and solutions to address our changing climate. Look for an organization or group of people working for a brighter future and join them.
A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) that we personally add to the atmosphere by our lifestyles. Curious about your carbon footprint? Check out the carbon footprint calculator. Then decide what you can do to reduce it.
We all can contribute by making choices that have less harmful effects on the environment. Be part of the solution. What can you do today to move away from fossil fuels? What else can you do to ensure a better future? Consider these ideas. We are in a climate emergency. Don’t delay in choosing actions that are doable for you.
Great reminder. Thank you
Thank you, Nicholas.
A good reminder of all the things we can do locally and in our own household to improve our climate. Check out the Energy Coop of Philadelphia at https://www.theenergy.coop/ . This is a non-profit cooperative (not a for-profit company) that allows households to source renewable energy (wind, water and solar energy) from a national or PA source. I follow their rates and they have decreased in recent months, probably because renewable energy is becoming more available!
While it is more expensive then the standard PECO rates, you can feel good that all of your electric is being generated sustainably! They have a program for renewable gas as well.