This Saturday, May 5, people around the world will join to mark Climate Impacts Day. Organized by 350.org, the day features events that will illustrate why the weather keeps getting hotter, the storms stronger and the floods deeper. (See their nifty video here.)
For those of us fortunate enough to have not lost loved ones or livelihoods to massive floods or devastating tornadoes, it’s tough to make the connection, but we are all affected.
Yesterday, our food team highlighted some popular foods that may become rare, super-luxury goods in the coming years. Since we're also focused on water and energy, Ecocentric connected some other dots between extreme weather and food, water and energy in the U.S. during 2011 :
- Texas – See this video from PBS Newshour: Texas towns are running out of water. NOAA reports $52 billion distributed in disaster aid for 2011, which includes $750 million for the worst wildfire season in history and $2 billion to offset livestock losses. Dallas roasted with 70 straight days of 100°F temperatures.
- Oklahoma – Hottest summer in U.S. history (hotter than TX). Average temp in July: 88.9°F. In Grandfield, the temperature reached or exceeded 100°F on a record-setting 97 days from mid-April to September 1, 2011.
- Hoover Dam – (NV, CA, AZ) The iconic dam’s electricity production is highly vulnerable to declining water levels in Lake Mead, which could be too dry to produce power by 2021.
- Southeast – (GA, AL, FL) Water wars? GA, FL and AL are embroiled in a suit over water rights that has gone to the U.S. Supreme Court. Lake Lanier, created by the Buford Dam, waters Atlanta amidst a regional drought, but other states need water too.
- Mississippi River – Record-setting rainfall in April and May 2011 combined with melting snowpack resulted in historic flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Estimated losses: $2-4 billion in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Louisiana; at least two deaths; at least $800 million in losses to Mississippi agriculture.
- Nebraska – A major Missouri River flood completely surrounded the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant.
- Oregon – According to the DOT, over $215 million was spent on disaster relief, including $1.7 million in repairs to highways closed after landslides and water damage. Areas affected by the severe floods included Waldport, Newport, the Mt. Hood National Forest and Cascadia, where a 150-yard landslide covered Highway 20.
- New York – Three 100-year floods in 1996, 2005 and 2011 devastated communities and agriculture in the Catskills. In 2011, flooding after Hurricane Irene caused almost $1 billion in damages.
Then there is what has been called the “poster child for climate change,” Glacier National Park, which may be inaptly named within a decade.
Our climate continues to change, and if you live in one of the places featured in our slideshow, this is old news to you.
How has your daily life been affected?
How do your choices affect others?
How do you connect the dots?
We'd love to hear from you in the comments.