What Exactly Is a Climate Disaster?

  For decades, we have heard from a multitude of activists and environmentalists to alter our lifestyles in an effort to prevent global warming, and while some listened, others profoundly underestimated the impact of the change in climate. Automatically assuming our planet was unlikely to deteriorate in such a brief period, many expected others to carry out the advised sacrifices for the future benefit of the environment, not partaking in their own share.

     Even when the temperature overall barely rises, all ecosystems hurriedly go into shock, becoming vulnerable and halting normal functions of life. Since ecosystem services are heavily relied on from the all over the world (such as tourism, food, protection, medicine, etc.), refusing to conserve innumerable major resources that were once easily obtained will constrain various components of our daily lives. Also, not only will our resources become less available, families in developing countries who have professions in their nearby, deteriorating ecosystems will struggle to locate new jobs to support their families once jobs are lost from complete destruction. As for us, the United States economy is estimated to shrink by 1.1% by 2050, and while our economy declines, natural disasters will multiply, adding to the turmoil with a higher probability of recurring and increasingly powerful damage nationwide, with numerous emerging questions taking over news platforms and contemplation in politics regarding imposing strict eco-friendly lifestyles. ​

     What exactly does this mean for us in the future? While probability is never guaranteed, many educated environmentalists have inferred with precise predictions. For example, once ocean reefs transform into a toxic zones with high pHs levels, disease-ridden corals, numerous and infectious plastic debris fragments and barely any signs marine life, this will result in tourist companies to shut down the area, prohibiting access to tourists and local communities. While many developing countries rely on their successful tourist attractions for income, a discontinuation of tourism will lead to economy disturbance, including a deprivation of medication for patients with life-threatening illnesses and a shortage of seafood. After this, more and more beaches will be closed to the public, historically changing life for many families and traveling for the future generations. ​

     While direction towards rescue for the devastating ecosystems will never rapidly or effortlessly be reached, plans for international agreement towards uniform treatment, caution, regulation and surveillance over critical vicinities would certainly aid in not only preventing areas from being disrupted. They would also assist in our comprehension of the situation and realization of our unique abilities in this process. Even though singular participation produces a small difference, involvement sparks curiosity within our peers who become inspired to take action as well. While Dallas has been heavily affected by the recent tornado, many citizens of Dallas have become consistent with volunteering through environmental organizations in efforts of a cleaner and safer environment. Some large organizations here in Dallas provide many opportunities for participation by utilizing varying approaches to suit anyone’s particular interests and talents. Some phenomenal, committed organizations such as Groundwork Dallas, Trinity River Audubon Center and Keep Dallas Beautiful all provide countless opportunities with a central focus on evolving Dallas’ environment and encouraging participation. Recognition of the situation at hand is the first step, involvement follows in visioning a modification of detrimental habits for a transformed future. ​

Image courtesy of the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

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