What is Climate Change?

black and white image of windmills in Palm Springs, California
Windmills in Palm Springs, California

The UN defines climate change as

long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.

Burning fossil fuels generates greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket wrapped around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures.

Examples of greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change include carbon dioxide and methane. These come from using gasoline for driving a car or coal for heating a building, for example. Clearing land and forests can also release carbon dioxide. Landfills for garbage are a major source of methane emissions. Energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and land use are among the main emitters.

Source: https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/what-is-climate-change

But Climate Change doesn’t affect me, does it?

Based on the Yale Climate Opinion Map (data through fall 2021), 72% of US adults think climate change is happening and 57% believe it’s caused mostly by human activity.

However, only 59% believe that climate change is already harming people in the US, while 46% have experienced the effects of climate change personally.

Only 47% of US adults believe that climate change will harm them personally.

The numbers widely differ when you look at specific regions within the US. I invite you to learn about public opinion in your state or county:


Why is public opinion important?

Public opinion on climate change is an important influence on decision making about policies to reduce the effects of climate change or prepare for its impacts. If our local policy makers and representatives don’t think climate change is important to their constituency, they may not fight for measures that combat climate change.

Therefore, specifically if you live in an area, where people think climate change isn’t happening or not impacting them, then it’s even more important for you to make sure your voice is heard and demand action to fight climate change.

A brief reminder: Why should we care about climate change again?

Watch this 10-minute sassy and informative video on how climate change affects the future of our planet and our own lives:

Climate change is already observable in many of our national and state parks and nature preserves. We only see what we know about, so I challenge you to speak to a ranger next time you are visiting a park or preserve and ask them how climate change impacts the ecosystem of the park or preserve today.

I recently started this practice and I am going to share with you what I have learned so far about the places I have visited.

But more importantly I want to share with you what we can do to help fight climate change. You’ll be surprised how much impact you can have!

Enjoy our nature & help protect it!

Climate Change in National Parks