SPOTLIGHT

Climate Change’s Effects on Us and Our Effect on It

The year 2020 clearly has a very bad reputation among the people. It started with the Australian Bush Fires, and now continues with wildfires all around the globe. Although wildfires are a natural phenomenon, the 2020 wildfires attracted scientists’ attention for their intensity. For instance, the California Wildfires, which started in August 2020, is already the biggest wildfire in the state’s history. (1)

 

A dry lightning storm, which produced nearly 11,000 lightning bursts between 15-19 August, set off devastating wildfires across California. For those of you who have not heard the term “dry lightning storm”, it is a storm that produces bolts of lightning, but most of its precipitation evaporates before reaching the ground. The fires that were caused by this storm have burned more than 520,000 hectares alone in California. In the last decade, both California’s average heat and average dryness have become severe due to climate change, increasing the chances and seriousness of extreme wildfires and dry lightning storms. (2)

 

Another extreme weather event occurred on the 8th of September, in the USA. A polar vortex replaced the summer temperatures of 30-35°C with the winter cold of 1-3°C just in a single day, changing the weather from sunny to snowy. Although this also seems like a result of climate change, it is not. Polar vortexes occur all the time near both poles. Although it is uncommon for a vortex to move so much south to influence the state of Montana/USA, it is still considered normal. Baring this in mind, we should not blame all the “unusual” or “drastic” weather events on climate change, sometimes it is just nature.

 

And sometimes, it is neither climate change nor nature, but it is us, the humans. Nearly 90% of all wildfires are started by humans and are harder to contain because of their unpredictability. The best example of such incidents is the latest wildfire in southern California. A raging wildfire in California was started by a pyrotechnic smoke device used at a gender-reveal party.

by Kaan Ertan & Alp Ünal Ayhan

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Just like these singular events that cause great devastation, climate change, in general, is with no doubt caused by humans. All of the calamities mentioned up until this point are results of calculated, conscious, and irresponsible choices made by humans and more consequences of these choices are going to haunt us for a long time.

 

Recognizing this as the real reason for climate change should lead us into recognizing the climate crisis as it is. We are running out of time to take the action proportionate to the scale and level of this crisis.

 

Thankfully there are people who are willing to remind us of the stark realities of the climate crisis. A lot of us know some famous climate activists, such as Greta Thunberg or Isra Hirsi, and some of their work has gone viral online to the point of being memes. Perhaps it is the time we took their concerns seriously and recognize all the other activists that are building the mass-scale climate justice movement. And perhaps it is time we become climate activists on our own ways, right now.

 

There is a lot to do and a lot to change...

in San Francisco/California, the sky turned orange because of the raging wildfires

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PRESENT is a non-profit monthly bulletin published by the Model United Nations Subcommittee of Boğaziçi University Debating Society (BUDS) on the first Monday of every month. 
 
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