Dear Arizona Voter and Survey Respondent, Climate change/preserving the environment has been on all of our radar for a long time. Unfortunately, we have little time to correct the many mistakes of the past four years. Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and reversal of fossil fuel policies are only a few of those missteps. Rising earth temperatures, massive wildfires, and more frequent destructive hurricanes are occurring because of climate change.
Hot Hot Hot Summer 2020 was one of the top 10 hottest summers for 37% (452) of 1203 cities analyzed; and 55 cities across the U.S. had their hottest summer on record. Furthermore, from January to August 2020, local record highs outpaced record lows in most places—a hallmark of climate change as global temperatures increase. Arizona broke heat records day after day from May well into October. Lake levels are down, grassland and forests are tinder dry, and the poorest and sickest of Arizona’s population were unable to cope with not only the heat, but also the lack of financial resources, and the creeping pandemic. Heat-related deaths and illness, combined with COVID-19 deaths, took a huge toll on at-risk populations, stretched medical resources, and contributed to already rising levels of grief and despair.
Fires During September and October, more than 100 wildfires have burned in Washington state, Oregon, and California, displacing over half a million residents in Oregon alone. At least one million residents had to evacuate. These fires were mostly on land owned by the federal government. Currently, there are two wildfires in Yavapai County being fought by a combination of fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, ground crews, and hotshots. Of course, the epidemic of COVID infections continues to serve as the background to all this havoc.
Floods/Hurricanes In the USA, “hurricane alley” stretches from the eastern Gulf of Mexico along the Texas coast, east to Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida and blows north and east all the way to the tip of Cape Cod. Catastrophic flooding from record rainfall during the storms has wiped out entire towns, killed over 100 people, and displaced over 100,000 residents. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has seen a record-breaking number of storms. From June 1, 2020 to October 15, 2020, the NOAA reported 26 tropical or subtropical cyclones, 25 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Fires, floods, hurricane numbers, and ocean rise are all tied to climate change, a direct result of greenhouse gases emitted by humans consuming fossil fuels.
It’s time for everyone to understand the dangers impacting our Mother Earth. Time is running out!