By: Carley Posey
I’m sure we have all noticed that in the last couple of years our seasons sometimes seem out of whack. Could climate change have something to do with it? I think back to just this previous year and how I was driving to my parents for Christmas Eve with the windows down, how the worst snow we got came in late February and March, and how even in late April we are dipping down into the 30’s at night and sometimes not warming up much during the day. One thing we are getting is plenty of rain, but we have other states struggling with drought like California. Yet with all of this going on as a state we can’t decide how to teach climate change, yet I think we are living it.
Climate change refers to a change in weather patterns over a long period of time such as a decade or longer. I hesitate to call this climate change for West Virginia, but it sure seems like the last decade of weather has been changing as we have gotten snow earlier and earlier and sometimes even late into the season. Last year we has so much rain it was hard to actually dry out.
The Environmental Protection Agency has said that Earth’s overall temperature has risen 1.4 degrees in the last century and they look for it to raise another 2 to 11.5 over the next century. Not only does climate change affect our weather, but it has been tied to some health problems. It can worsen smog and increase pollen production which can gravely affect breathing for some West Virginians. We could also deal with extreme heat that could lead to dehydration and heat stroke, and with more heat comes more insects especially those that carry infectious diseases such as those carried by mosquitos.
However, not everything goes together. West Virginia has already experienced times of drought, flooding, and just extreme weather in general. The swings of the weather will only become worse as climate change becomes worse. In 2011 alone, West Virginia counties broke heat, rain, and snow fall records.
Not all of the problems with climate change are solely linked to weather though, West Virginia school boards have been debating for the last year or so how to proceed on teaching climate change in school. In December 2014, the board decided to alter the way climate change was being taught in West Virginia schools. The change was thought to encourage students to debate on climate change and be able to form their own opinions on it. However, just a month later the board voted to go back to the old way of teaching because students need to learn the facts about climate change.
There is a lot more research that needs to be done on climate change, but sadly I think a lot of it will just need to be observed to be understood.