97°F
weather icon Clear

Global warming a problem for all

Two days after Thanksgiving, I was still wearing shorts and flip flops. You can’t tell me there’s no such thing as global warming.

My weekend attire was just one of several signs this month that changes in the climate are having a major impact on the world around us.

The federal government released a report Friday, Nov. 23, that indicated the effects of climate change, including deadly wildfires, increasingly debilitating hurricanes and heat waves, are already happening and the danger of similar catastrophes is worsening.

Earlier this month, two major wildfires crippled California. The Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. Two entire towns were practically wiped out. More than 153,300 structures were destroyed. Eighty-eight people were killed and more than 150 are still missing.

As crews struggled to gain control of the flames, the Woolsey Fire broke out along the Ventura and Los Angeles county border, causing the entire town of Malibu to be evacuated. It burned nearly 100,000 acres of land and destroyed around 1,500 homes.

And then another fire, the Hill Fire, began in Ventura County. It only burned 4,351 acres and destroyed two structures, according to the state’s fire agency.

I had plans to vacation in the Golden State, but the fires brought an about face and sent us east instead of west.

Another sign came Tuesday when I was part of one of the last groups to tour Southern Nevada Water Authority’s low level pumping station at Lake Mead, a step necessary to ensure our community and those in the Las Vegas Valley have access to water as a nearly two-decade-long severe drought continues to impact Lake Mead.

The lake’s level is dropping as snowfall in the Rocky Mountains lessens reducing the amount of water that flows into the Colorado River.

We traveled 500 feet underground to an area that will be flooded by the end of the year to see the infrastructure to pump water from the reservoir when the lake’s level drops another couple hundred feet. Since 2000, the level has already fallen 130 feet.

But the news is not all bad.

Shortly before the U.S. report was published, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international body of scientists from 40 countries, reported that just a half a degree reduction in global warming would have major positive impacts, among them the global sea level rise would be 10 centimeters lower, the likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century compared with at least once per decade and coral reefs would decline by 70 percent to 90 percent versus virtually all being lost.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5 C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, co-chairman of a panel working group.

While we have found ways to adapt to these changes, it is more important to take steps to prevent more harm to the environment. Global warming is caused by pollution and the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

For each problem that contributes to increased greenhouse gasses, there are actions we can take to offset the damage. For example, we can carpool more often and find alternative methods of transportation to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Or, we can help reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills by recycling, which will lessen the amount of methane released by decaying garbage. We also can switch from incandescent light bulbs to LEDs, which use up to 70 percent less energy to operate. You even could plant a tree; greenery transforms harmful carbon dioxide into oxygen.

If we all do something, no matter how big or small, collectively it will make a vast difference. And maybe, someday in the future, jackets will be needed in November instead of flip flops.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Challenging times inspire creative solutions

It’s been 1,728 hours — 72 days — since Nevadans were first asked to work from home and begin isolating themselves from others to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Meaningful thoughts pass test of time

I enjoy well said, meaningful sayings. Thoughts that are well-spoken, especially during a time of confusion, desperation and perhaps, situations that seem impossible, are often priceless.

Political choices dictate nation’s economy

Since March 16, I’ve been at home on the computer sharing educational materials as much as possible with as many folks as possible on social media sites, sending them personal messages and calling them. I’ve done this because, believe it or not, I’ve seen education work wonders.

Science smashes coronavirus conspiracy theories

Baseball legend Yogi Berra famously quipped about a 1973 pennant race, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Berra’s oft-repeated observation couldn’t be more apt for the current public health crisis, as governors (Republican as well as Democrat) lead efforts to contain the nationwide devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Berra’s Mets did eventually come back to win the division title that year. The U.S., and the world, must take decisive, even unpopular steps, to ensure that the coronavirus doesn’t also make a huge comeback.

Who is that masked man?

The other day, my husband and I had to run out to the grocery store to pick up a few things. In these days of COVID-19, it was certainly a different experience than it had been before.

Virus was scam to get political control

After three years of historic economic growth, record unemployment and a proliferating middle-class lifestyle, the anti-Trump cadre, without missing a beat, migrated from their failed three-year impeachment circus and transformed a pandemic into a gigantic economic demolition derby.

Make your mom proud

Sunday is Mother’s Day. To all the moms (and dads who fill that role) out there, I wish you a happy day and offer gratitude for what you do.

Sense of normalcy slowly returns

We are beginning to look toward making a way back to our normal lives. More likely, we will find ways to a new normal. It does not appear it will be done quickly as the COVID-19 virus threat still exists.

Little love, luck help us through quarantine

I hope you are among the lucky ones who are quarantined at home with someone you love. I can’t imagine the feelings of loneliness that would come with being truly self-isolated.

News organizations need your help

The newspaper or news website you are reading is in trouble. Like many other businesses, the COVID-19 crisis has eliminated most of its revenue but not its expenses, delivering a body blow to a business model that was already under pressure. But it continues to publish, providing your community with timely, accurate information about the crisis.