Small Steps to Save the Midwest (and the World)


Ashley Robinson

  For the past several years, the words “climate change” and “global warming” have dominated headlines concerned with the environment. The heavily discussed topic has seemed to split the world. If the world is only getting warmer, then why is it snowing? Why do winters still exist? How is the road covered in sheets of ice? These questions actually validate the existence of climate change and how it directly impacts the Midwest.

  Before delving into the factual evidence and effects of the environmental phenomenon, it is vital to be able to discern between two key concepts: climate and weather. Weather is the term that is used to describe day to day conditions, such as “it is raining” or “today will have a high of 47 degrees.” Climate encompasses the long-term averages for weather. So, when someone refers to the Midwest as having four seasons that are distinguished by weather, they are referring to climate. Therefore, it is illogical to determine that climate change is not real based on daily weather states.

  One of the main reasons for the drastic change in climate is the rising temperature of the air. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, this warmer air creates heavier and more frequent rain and snow falls due to the excessive presence of moisture. Unfortunately, these snow storms do not stick around for too long; the snow will melt and result in major flooding.

  In the Midwest this is a major concern due to the proximity to the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Michigan. These warmer temperatures will allow “greater potential for lake effect snows,” Climate Reality Project reports. Following the snow, the United States Environmental Protection Agency notes that the floods raise the concerns of “strained drainage systems… and reduced drinking water availability.” The heavy reliance on Lake Michigan and the water it provides to many homes in Northwest Indiana will be a major and direct impact on thousands of people.

  The Chicago River could also face dramatic alterations. Heavy influxes of water will force the river to overflow, proposing the fear of flooding in the underground street system in Chicago. Friends of the Chicago River even note that the native species in the area could possibly be killed off or pushed out of the region.

  Although this environmental disaster is still occuring, there are multiple ways to prevent it from getting any worse. When commuting, consider taking public transit if possible or carpool with others. Energy-efficient light bulbs and Energy Star certified appliances will not only save energy but also money. Reducing plastic waste and composting food aids in the reduction of carbon and slows the deterioration of the atmosphere. These several small changes are the first steps in investing for a better future for the human race- so why not make them?