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The Dying of the American West

Updated on April 21, 2020
powers41 profile image

Environmental issues are here, especially climate change and the extinction of many species.

Five Largest Companies Lobbying

The Five Companies
The Five Companies | Source

The Five Largest Companies Lobbying Against Climate Control

This chart shows the millions spent lobbying against climate control for their profits. They collectively lobby to control, delay, or block climate policy, spending over $200 million. And Washington seems to do whatever they want. So many environmental policies have been abolished recently, it is forever going to impact our world.

Causes of a Megadrought

What exactly is a megadrought? According to scientists, it is a prolonged drought lasting two decades or longer. Past megadroughts have been associated with persistent multi-year La Ninas. These megadroughts happen on an extreme scale. Today, it appears to be one of worse in 1200 years and, the first to be influenced by human-caused climate change.

Park Williams, a researcher at Columbia University, studies tree rings and historical data which provide information on past climate conditions. But today, an added element is human.explortation, pollution, and deforestation.

The current megadrought is second only to the last event, which occurred in the late 1500s.

The Study of Tree Rings, Dendrochronology

Sample of Tree Rings
Sample of Tree Rings
Sample of Tree Rings
Sample of Tree Rings

Dendrochronology Study

The science of dating events, environmental and archeological effects. Each ring marks a complete cycle of seasons or one year.

The word comes from the Greek, dendron means tree and Kronos means time. It was Leonardo da Vinci who was the first person to say trees form rings annually to detect conditions.

19 Year Scale of Climate Change

19 Year Scale of Climate Change
19 Year Scale of Climate Change

Five Major Environmental Problems

We can't deny the effects of climate change. It's real and it is here now. Here are the five major problems:

Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming

Desertifiction-land degradation

Deforestation-Taking of trees and land

Loss of Biodiversity-25-75 species extinct each day

Disposal of wastes-industrialization and urbanization


The Scale of Climate Change

As one can see from the scale, the southwest U.S. is showing climate change. The temperatures have risen 2.2 degrees in the past twenty years. Reservoirs in Lake Mead and Lake Powell have shrunk dramatically. The lakes are in the worse drought in its 56-year history.

Coupled with arid conditions, insect outbreaks are ravaging dried out forests, making them vulnerable to wildfires. These wildfires are increasing, and in the last twenty years, have grown to over 100 blazes per year. Since the 1970s, the wildfire season has increased from five months to seven months.

The International Tree-Ring Data (ITRDB) is a repository for tree-ring measurements since 1990. And, extreme events offer a wealth of information on climate, global hazards, drought monitoring at the NOAA site. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

Megadroughts brought about mass migrations such as the Anasazi of the American southwest in the 1500s as they moved farther south.


Possible Preventive Solutions

Elements of weather caused by the climate and El Nino winds are also responsible but, the human factors are, by scientists, contribute as much as 50% to the increase of droughts. In 2018, nearly 200 dead horses were found decomposing at dried-up Arizona water holes.

We all need to do our part to conserve water, and it will take exceptional leadership and smart water management for cities and states. We can no longer ignore the dangers of climate change. Agriculture will have a significant impact on farming.

Water restrictions will be crucial to maintaining our water supply, and while it may be painful, it is imperative we do our part.


Sources Used

NOAA National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration

Smithsonian Magazine

NCDC.NOAA.gov

Mashable.com

byu.edu

kged.org


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    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      11 months ago

      Fran, I haven't heard from you about my request. Do you see it here? If not, check out my new article, Part 6 of "Keily, the Bookworm" series on my profile page. I will be happy if you read it and leave a constructive comment in the article.

    • powers41 profile imageAUTHOR

      fran rooks 

      11 months ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Thank you for your kind words. I'm anxious to start checking your articles.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      11 months ago from Chicago

      I appreciate your fine reportage. Thank you for this interesting piece.

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      11 months ago

      Fran, I have published a new article in the "Keily, the Bookworm" series.

      Would you like to read it? If yes, please leave your feedback in the comments section of the article (Part-6). Here is the link:

      https://letterpile.com/serializations/Keily-the-Bo...

    • powers41 profile imageAUTHOR

      fran rooks 

      11 months ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Thank you Liz. And, you are right about the climate benefiting with reduced travel and emissions.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      11 months ago from UK

      This is a shocking but sadly all too true situation. The one silver lining on the pandemic cloud is the respite lockdown has given the climate. With reduction in travel and industrial activity global has come a reduction in harmful emissions.

    • powers41 profile imageAUTHOR

      fran rooks 

      11 months ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Thanks for your kind comments, Rosina. Glad someone's reading my articles.

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      11 months ago

      It is rather sad to see how the dying of American West is taking place. The megadrought and the five major environmental problems (with which I am highly familiar) really aroused my interest in the concerned issue. A nice and informative hub, Fran.

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