Climate Change is Bringing Irreversible Changes

Today’s rapid climate change is making natural disasters more intense and threatening


Photo by Victor Bautista

The early 2021 Comet Fire put a San Marcos hill in flames.

Story by Abbey Rhoades, Staff Writer

   The effects of climate change are a big threat to us and our environment as it plays a major role in making natural disasters more powerful and extreme. In Southern California, extreme snowstorms, hurricanes, or tornadoes are nearly impossible, however, massive wildfires ravage the state yearly.

   According to NASA, the earth’s temperature has increased by two point twelve degrees Fahrenheit since the 1900s. Scientists say the effects of climate change could be permanent by 2030. Climate change creates drought, storms, heatwaves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and warming oceans. 

   “From 2015 to 2020, almost one billion acres of land was burned, but from 1910 to   2014 that same amount was burned. Fire season used to be eight months, but now it is all year round,” a Cal fire defensible space inspector (DSI) said. 

   While climate change does not always start fires, it does make fires spread farther. Climate change enhances the drying of organic matter in forests, which is the material that burns and spreads wildfires.

   “The main causes of forest fires are lightning, burning rust, and freight trains. Freight trains cause a lot of fires because they have a mesh screen over their exhaust and if it’s not cleaned regularly it can cause fires,” a DSI said.

   Climate change is responsible for increasing dry heat and drought, which is the perfect fuel for forest fires and has over time made fire seasons longer. 

Warmer, drier weather is also a cause for the spread of Mountain Pine Beetles that help fuel forest fires by weakening trees. 

   We have seen the harmful effects of extreme forest fires recently as the enormous Dixie and Caldor fires destroyed more than 900,000 acres of land. Many people have tragically lost their homes to these fires. 

   From 2003 to 2019, U.S land affected by forest fires increased significantly compared to previous years. Fire seasons have only gotten worse since then and they are going to continue to get worse unless something is done.

   “I think climate change is an issue that needs more attention. While it has a lot of attention in the world, it needs more action,” said senior Joe Rhoades, “I wish people would just do something about it instead of wasting time trying to convince other people it’s real.”

   One way to reduce climate change is to use Open Tabs. Open Tabs is a website browser that plants one tree every five tabs opened. People can also stop using plastic water bottles and try to minimize their plastic use. Signing petitions and donating to organizations such as Coalition for Rainforest Nations, Clean Air Task Force, and Climate Emergency Fund also help greatly. While it might not seem like much, even something as simple as picking up trash and throwing it away makes a huge difference.