Climate Change Is Wreaking Havoc In California

Matt Lillywhite

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"Heatwaves are becoming more common, snow is melting earlier in spring—and in southern California, less rain is falling as well," per the Environmental Protection Agency. "In the coming decades, the changing climate is likely to further decrease the supply of water, increase the risk of wildfires, and threaten coastal development and ecosystems."

Climate change is already wreaking havoc in California. Droughts are straining water supplies throughout the state. Plus, warmer temperatures could make naturally occurring wildfires more frequent over the coming decades, according to USGS (a government agency). "Researchers have found strong correlations between warm summer temperatures and large fire years, so there is general consensus that fire occurrence will increase with climate change."

According to the New York Times, "Climate change can be overwhelming. The science is complex, and when it comes to future impacts, there are still a lot of unknowns. While real solutions will require action on a global scale, there are choices you can make in your day-to-day life to lessen your personal impact on the environment."

Many reservoirs throughout California are currently below their normal water levels. Therefore, California residents should be more mindful of their water consumption by only using what's necessary. "As the western U.S. faces a potential third year of drought, it's critical that Californians across the state redouble our efforts to save water in every way possible," said California Governor Gavin Newsom.

You can also reduce your carbon footprint (the amount of greenhouse gases generated by your actions) by being more conscious of how you travel. Instead of flying short distances (such as from Los Angeles to San Fransisco), consider using greener alternatives to reach your destination. After all, climate research from the BBC shows that traveling by bus or train emits far fewer emissions than flying.

Although Californians typically prefer to drive cars (according to a study published by CBS), taking public transit can be extremely efficient. For example, you can purchase a monthly transit pass in San Fransisco for $98. That's much cheaper than the average monthly car payment of $430 for used vehicles. So, if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, taking public transit more frequently is a great place to start.

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