Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Climate change in USA

     The planet Earth has been experiencing climate change since the Ice Ages. However, this trend has been taking place at a rapid pace since the Industrial Revolution of Europe. Owing to a speedy increase in industrialization, human activities have meddled with the composition of atmosphere by releasing greenhouse gases and causing them to become increasingly compressed in the ozone layer; hence, trapping and filtering heat and causing global warming. There are several countries amongst others that possess the greatest share in contributing negatively to the environment. One such country is the United States of America.
     Currently, U.S.A has been experiencing a wide array of environmental predicaments. The most prominently damaging of them all are climate change, conservation, deforestation and pollution. As a result of these issues, more than thousands of people residing in the U.S.A have had to endure the negative consequences.
     Where climate change is concerned, U.S.A is the second leading country that emits a large amount of carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels. The enlarged concentration of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere has ultimately led to extreme incidents across the country. There are frequent heat waves, cold waves, storms, heavy rainfall, floods, droughts and increased precipitation which are detrimental to health and infrastructure. Coastal areas are particularly at risk because of rising ocean levels.  The catastrophes that occur cost the country millions of dollars which affect the economy.
     USA has also been facing challenges to its wildlife conservation. Already, the North American megofauna and Passenger Pigeon have become extinct due to human activities. The American Bison and California Condon are endangered due to poaching and wholesale hunting activities.
     Deforestation has also been occurring gradually, mainly due to illegal logging of forests, cutting and transporting timber and producing wood chips on fields. The amount of pollution has also reached its peak. In terms of air pollution, Los Angeles is the most contaminated – it even won the “smoggiest city” award quite a few times. Toxic chemicals in the air lead to cancer and pregnancy complications. The waste emitted from industries imposes high costs as well as haphazardous effects on health, particularly causing strokes.
     The rivers, lakes oceans surrounding the USA have been hard-hit by toxic waste. Drinking water of Washington D.C was found infected with lead which made thousands of children vulnerable to health illnesses. Furthermore, cruise ship is one of the highest grossing industries in USA. However, a large amount of toxic and solid waste along with oil was discovered in oceans. Blood and entrails were found dumped in the Bubby Creek by nearby meat-packing businesses. The Love Canal, upon sale to Niagra Falls and construction emitted toxic waste which massively compromised public health. Moreover, Greenpoint oil spill is one of the largest oil spills to pollute land. Over 17 million gallons of oil were leaked into the soil.
     The impacts on people are numerous. In terms of territory, residents are restricted by reservation boundaries to relocate. This alters their welfare and it becomes hard to cope with impacts on resources, cultivation and ecosystems. Southern and western regions are prone to storms, droughts, air pollution and heat waves. The mountainous west is affected by water scarcity and wild fires. Arctic populations confront rising ocean levels due to melting ice caps.
     During disasters, the handling capacity of people diminishes. Poor people have limited financial resources to cope with changes. Old people are prone to health problems owing to extreme temperatures, hurricanes and droughts. Young children are specifically vulnerable as their immune systems are still in developing stages and are therefore prone to catastrophes.
     Urban settlements absorb more heat – a large number of people will be affected by heat waves, tropical storms and droughts. Extreme temperatures affect prices of air, energy, water quality, welfare and health. There is also a lot of damage caused to infrastructure.

     Lastly, the lifestyle of agricultural communities is dependent upon weather. Due to unstable weather conditions, crops such as wheat, cotton and corn might disappear and will have to be imported. Tourism will also be greatly affected. With lesser snowfall, skiing and snowmobile activities are affected. Wildfires affect hiking and leisure in parks. Soil erosion due to rising sea levels also negatively affects exotic beaches. Overall, the economy will face the downside of climate change.  

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