The Whirlwind of Change; 2021’s Undeniable Earth Crisis

From natural disasters to animal endangerment, the planet we all depend on is giving way to conditions that pose lethal problems for all forms of life alike; so, what gives?

In Louisiana, a woman looks upon Hurricane Ida’s damage to a neighborhood in Kenner

Scott Olson

In Louisiana, a woman looks upon Hurricane Ida’s damage to a neighborhood in Kenner

Jasmin Parrado, Staff Writer

Here, in the cool of air conditioning and the promise of brown leaves amid the bloom of fall, we have sought to enjoy the sweet summer endgame—but the same can’t be said for the Komodo dragon species, Acapulco or the entire East Coast as they suffer in disaster.

In the span of months, the earth has catapulted an array of environmental conditions resulting in civilian unrest; when Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon last week and climbed to the Northeast on the eerie anniversary of Katrina, it proved to be catastrophic to the brim, leaving all areas of impact with immense property damage culminating to $95 billion and over 97 deaths, all in light of ongoing financial estimations. Meanwhile, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake near Acapulco, Mexico has left at least one dead and countless buildings swaying in place upon its abrupt arrival. Wildfires are still ravaging the West Coast, and as of now, another Hurricane, Larry, is brewing in the Atlantic and promising rip currents already.  In wake of these natural events, cities have been reduced to wastelands and debris with the intensity of these recent disasters.

But why now? Why has this year proven tumultuous in the extent of damage? The world has presented particularly ripe conditions for storm systems in the midst of hotter weather; the prevalent discourse that awaits address is therefore the severity of climate change.

“Every part of the country is getting hit by extreme weather,” President Joe Biden stated while discussing the urgency surrounding the issue in a briefing with local government officials on Tuesday. “And we’re now living in real time what the country’s going to look like.”

Of course, this is not new news; the United States has built on an immediate narrative following the recent release of medical journals declaring climate change to be the most prominent danger there is to the environment in terms of potential health risks. From long-term atmospheric conditions to abnormal weather patterns and developments, it poses major concern for the wellbeing of the living world—and such risks do not just apply to humanity alone.

Recently, the International Unit for Conservation of Nature has added the Komodo dragon to its red list entailing currently endangered species of wildlife. The status change owes most of itself to the massive progression of climate conditions proving uninhabitable for the reptiles over the course of the past few years—that, of course, being due to rising sea levels that have overtaken the already tricky land habitats upon which they depend. The sobering fact alone has relayed to organizations that the world’s significantly warmer air and water temperatures are not to simply be anticipated—the issue cannot wait any longer.

The collective thought here lies in reforming the actions on our part that contribute to the acceleration of rising sea levels; we know that such levels result from excessive heat retention in the atmosphere, increasing the pace at which natural processes like convection occur. This is where you see stronger hurricane formations such as Ida and Larry; in addition, the continuous liquid state of water accumulates amidst the faster processes with excessive heat, leaving high sea levels that overwhelm and fragment lower land elevations. This leaves species that depend on these lands, such as our beloved Komodo Dragons, without any place to go about their particular lives.

Needless to say, this pattern of uncontrollably overwhelming heat phases also applies further inland. Forest fires thrive on the dryness of the warmer season, and their arrival unfortunately also fuels the production of infamous greenhouse gases such as carbon.

Carbon; Carbon, carbon, carbon. One of the major culprits in the maintenance of heat in our atmosphere—so, why is there so much of it?

For one thing, these disasters cycle back endlessly to ensure that constant trouble awaits the environment; but what about their origins? Why has the ocean turned so much warmer so quickly, and how did the raging fires in California even develop? Why has there been a surplus amount of gases trapping the heat to drive the peace of the environment to the ground?

That answer comes in what we do. That, and what we fail to do.

Increased human-driven activities like deforestation and fossil fuel burning have released a substantial amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, therefore culminating in increased radiation absorption. This is where the meat of the problem stands: humanity has accelerated the rate at which different components of nature utilize and circulate heat, and it has consequentially given rise to catastrophic events that would not have resulted had such rates been controlled.

When witnessing the dangers of these events, it is clear that the course of action we take will not automatically reverse the threat that accompanies climate change—but moving forward in this effort collectively can at least help slow the rate of the natural processes once more. We must continue the conservation effort. We must learn of the use of alternative measures. Take the smallest step; maybe change your form of transportation or donate to a program that will strive for the cause.

Recognize what the planet faces as of now; with climate change contributing to most of the problems we see, there is no doubt or denial that it is still prevalent enough to have been the root of these urgent situations. If we act quickly, we can alleviate its severity and save more of our people and wildlife. If you can’t beat the heat, throw the banana peel ahead. Do not retreat.