We must act against climate change

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The Skagit Valley in Northwestern Washington has some of the most fertile soil in the world. That valley was a floodplain before the Skagit River was diked in the early 20th century.

According to the Washington Department of Ecology, the Skagit Valley will soon be underwater again, but this time due to rising sea level — and this time the flood will be permanent, not seasonal. The Skagit Valley and Willapa Bay are the two places in Washington state most susceptible to rising sea levels. The next two are Olympia and Tacoma.

Global climate change is causing water to expand and ice to melt — these, in turn, trigger rising sea level. Since 1950, Washington state has lost one-third of its glaciers due to increased air temperatures. This denotes electricity shortages in the future, as over two-thirds of Washington’s electricity comes from hydropower.

Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree that Earth’s natural greenhouse effect is drastically increased by human activities, which then leads to global climate change. This climate change affects our weather patterns as well as glaciers and sea level. Droughts and flooding are increasing because winters in Washington are becoming wetter and warmer, while summers are growing much hotter.

These changing winters provide prime conditions for pest multiplication, which is why the pine beetle is currently rampaging through forests in Northeastern Washington.

Additionally, altered weather patterns directly affect agriculture. Due to warmer temperatures, crop yields will increase in the near future, but this will soon subside into more pests and lower yields. Indeed, according to the Washington Department of Ecology, studies conducted in Washington’s wine country show that weather changes bode especially ill for grape crops,

In “The Discovery of Global Warming,” Spencer Weart writes that consumption of fossil fuels has been a confirmed cause of global climate change since the 1960s.

So why have energy conservation policies in America only recently begun to change? We will destroy the land that sustains us if we refuse to act against climate change. Thus we choose to destroy ourselves.

The power of change is with the people. Voting time is an opportunity to choose life, for our land and for us. Vote for politicians who respect this country, its citizens and the environment.

Sam Traylor

Walla Walla

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