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Maddie Garcia, Contributor

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I’m assuming you already know what climate change is? Right? Well, I’m not just going to be giving you a deeper definition of climate change. I’m going to be telling you exactly what causes climate change and the state of global warming we are in. When you look up the definition of climate change on Google, you get this: “a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels”. This is a very clear definition of what climate change is, but if we dissect the definition, it has a deeper meaning. The first part we will look at is “a change in global or regional patterns”. You may not realize it, but here in California we are suffering from the change in the Earth’s temperature. The history of California’s droughts embarked in 1895 (by the way, climate change first became an issue in the 1800’s, which means this was almost 100 years after). There have since been six droughts lasting about two years or longer.

The most recent drought ended in 2016 and started in 2012 (total of 4 years). Our runoff amount is larger than the actual amount of water we receive a year, which also affects the droughts. From these droughts, land in California has become dryer, which leads to bigger issues. As land got dryer, Earth got warmer, leading to enormous wildfires. 2017 had over 9,000 wildfires, killing up to 46 people and destroying approximately 1.2 million acres of land. Soon after that summer, it rained. Attrition of California’s land began and mudslides did too. These mudslides formed more easily due to the previous wildfires that wiped out the land completely making it open to catch rain. This year, mudslides killed 20 people. Overall, 64 people were killed last year in California due to unfortunate “natural” disasters. “Fossil fuels” and “20th Century” tells us that climate change is man-made. Climate change doesn’t only affect humans either, but also animals, like polar bears.

The ice caps have been getting warmer and melting. This has caused the water levels to rise and polar bears to lose prey as the ice they live on slowly melts away. Not only this, but the ocean and air also got warmer, which causes more natural disasters, such as hurricanes, to occur more easily. But how does the Earth get warmer? Well, over time, countries across the world, including the United States, have polluted water and most importantly, the sky. This has affected the way our atmosphere protects us from the sun. Earth’s atmosphere now allows the sun’s heat through, but makes it impossible for the heat to be released or simply bounce back into space. As a country, we must understand the effects of global warming and put an end to it together with the rest of the world.

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