Area of study
Wyoming is the state that this article will focus on. It is a constituent state of the USA. It was included as the 44th state on 10th July 1890, and its area ranks it 10th among the 50 American states (Infoplease 2017). It shares boundaries with six other Mountain states and Great Plains: Nebraska and South Dakota to the east, Utah to the southwest, Montana to the north and northwest, and Idaho to the west. The capital is Cheyenne and is in the southeastern corner of the state. The residents of Wyoming stay in small farming and ranching towns, mining settlements, and recreational settlements. It has an area of 253,334 km2 and a population estimate of 585, 501 in 2016 (Infoplease 2017).
Image 0.1, Fossil fuel associated emissions of greenhouse gases from Federal Lands Credit USGS
Climate change impacts on human systems
According to the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) in 2014, Wyoming had the most emissions of carbon dioxide – 57% of fossil energy on every federal land comes from the state. This state (Wyoming) also emits the highest methane percentage (McKim, 2018). Climate and weather influence on human activities. Focusing on health, climate and weather have varied and significant effects on health. Health hazards related to the change in climate affect different humans on different degrees after exposure. Climate change has brought changes on weather and the phenomena of climate, for example, massive droughts and rains, high temperatures, among other adverse effects (Crimmins et al. 2016). These changes mean that people are already at the risk of experiencing climate and weather phenomena that is health threatening. Examples for these are severed hurricanes, severe heat, increased intensity of storms, the rates of rainfall, and the surge of storms. The changes in climate bring in new health threats related to that climate, for example, warmer temperatures could make disease-causing organisms to thrive, posing more significant risks to the health of people. Climate change can, therefore, affect the health of people in two significant ways; by changing the frequency or severity of problems related to health that are already influenced by the factors of the weather or climate, and also by creating unanticipated or unprecedented health threats and health problems in places not used to experiencing them (Crimmins et al. 2016).
Climate changes affect significantly the water we drink, the type of foods we eat, the weather we experience, and the air we breathe. Therefore it could threaten our health. The effects of these risks will rely on how well the systems of public health and safety prepare for and address these changing threats. It will also depend on other factors such as the behavior of an individual, gender, age, and economic status. The impacts will be different on different individuals depending on the place he or she lives, their sensitivity to the threats of health, the rate of exposure to the impacts of climate change, and how the community will adapt to the change.
Warmer temperatures lead to hot days and frequent and more prolonged heat waves (USGCRP 2016). The changes cause an increase in death cases related to heat in the United States. Uses of air conditioning as an adaptive response reduce this death rate. Extreme weather could also lead to dehydration and heat stroke, even cerebrovascular, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases. Urban areas usually are warmer than their surrounding rural areas. Shifting weather patterns and more heated air could lead to asthma, respiratory and cardiovascular health problems because of the worsened air quality (EPA, 2017a). The increased rates of diseases among people lead to use of more funds in the healthcare sector, and this system is significantly affected by climate change.
The second system that is much affected by climate change is agriculture or the farming system. Agriculture is a vital sector in any economy; it is one of the significant sources of income in every country. Fisheries and agriculture depend highly on climate. Changes in environment, for example, carbon dioxide and temperature, can increase the yields of some crops, but the levels of nutrients, availability of water, soil moisture, and other conditions have to be achieved. Severe drought and floods could threaten food safety by challenging farmers and ranchers. There is an optimum temperature at which a crop thrives, and warmer temperatures will negatively affect the production of the crop. Heat waves could also threaten poultry and livestock by increasing the disease vulnerability, reduced fertility, and reduced output. Drought threatens feeds and pastures supplies, and at the same time increases the parasites and diseases prevalence, affecting the livestock (EPA, 2017b).
Climate change impacts on biophysical systems
The climate change also has effects on the biophysical systems. The first impact is to increased natural disasters. Extreme effects of weather, such as tropical and extratropical cyclones, heat waves, intense rainfall, drought, snow avalanches, thunderstorms, and dust storms are likely to increase. The natural disasters are sometimes unpredictable and could lead to significant losses, even loss of lives. The increased speed, strength, and destructiveness of the winds are connected with climate changes. Rainstorms, followed by landslides, flooding, and debris flow are fatal and lead to the destruction of property.
Biodiversity also suffers a loss during climate change. Rapid urbanization and industrialization and even hunting, mining, and logging have degraded some species. We today have a lot of endangered species as a result of climate change. Pollution and urbanization are the leading causes of the loss of biodiversity. Climate change also alters the structure of the ecosystem, therefore contributing to the loss of biodiversity. Decreased amounts of rainfall threaten the sources of food as well as the habitats of animals. The number of endangered animal species is declining because of the deteriorating natural habitats.
Adaptations to help in responding to climate change impacts
People can adapt in response to the changes in climate. For the health problems and deaths caused by heat waves, people could use air conditioners in their homes to regulate the amount of heat. People can also migrate to other places during extreme weather conditions so that they can be safe. The next human system affected is farming, and this too can be changed to adapt to climate changes. The farmers could plant crops that are more drought resistant and can endure the harsh weather. These plants will be sure to produce even when the weather is not suitable. The other method is by irrigation. Crops in drier places could be irrigated so that their production is guaranteed. Farmers could also change the animal breeds to the breeds that can do well in warmer climates.
There is no known way to prevent natural disasters from happening, but this could be reduced if the climate was regulated and brought back to normal. This can be done through the planting of more trees and reducing the pollution (whether water, soil or air pollution). It is because of warmer climates that there are avalanches and increased sea levels, as well as reduced ice on the arctic circles. The dust storms could be reduced if there was vegetation cover on the ground. The loss of biodiversity could be countered by ensuring that there are places set apart for the preservation of wildlife. These places should be taken care of, and the animals and plants have to be observed and taken care of to keep them alive and to prevent their extinction. Unnecessary cutting down of trees should also be prohibited, and people encouraged to plant more trees.
Just like Wyoming State in the United States of America, the whole world is feeling the bite of global warming. This climate change has been caused by different factors and has adversely affected every place in the whole world. The effects of climate change are evident on our day to day lives and cannot be ignored, they are real. The increase of temperature globally has disastrous consequences and has endangered flora and fauna survival, including people. One of the most dangerous impacts of climate change is the melting of a mass of ice at the ice poles; it raises the sea level that threatens the disappearing of coastal environments by flooding. The increasingly violent weather phenomena, forest fires, drought, flooding, climate refugees, food chain destruction, and deaths of animals have been increased by climate change.
The greenhouse gases are not entirely harmful; they are essential for survival. These gases keep some of the warmth of the sun from being reflected into space and therefore making the earth a place that sustains life. Things have however changed after a lot of deforestation, large scale agriculture, and industrialization. The number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are at the highest point ever, and as the living standards grow, the increasing level of emission of greenhouse gases also increases. These gases are the first leading cause of global warming (climate change). Reducing the emissions of these gases could help mitigate the effects of climate change.
In conclusion, climate change is a part of our daily lives; we experience it daily. Climate change has been caused by human beings, either directly or indirectly. The temperatures globally have been rising every year; it sometimes gets so hot in some countries that the heat effects kill people. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane have made the temperatures of the earth to increase significantly over the years. The burning of fossil fuels is the largest source of greenhouse gases. These gases act like a blanket around the planet and trap the atmospheric energy, resulting in warmth; this is the greenhouse effect; it naturally helps in sustaining the earth. A warmer climate can lead to changes which will affect the transportation and power systems, water supplies, the natural environment, agriculture, and even the health of human beings and safety. The State of Wyoming in America emits the most substantial proportion of greenhouse gases, which have negative impacts on the lives of people, animals, and plants. The state has been affected by climate change in a lot of different ways, and even deaths have occurred, some because of the heat wave. Climate change has effects on both human systems as well as biophysical systems. Climate change also brings in diseases, and they could be fatal. Health and agriculture are the social systems that this essay has focused on, while biophysical factors are increased natural disasters as well as loss of biodiversity. Human beings can avoid climate change by mitigating its effects, through international agreements and adapting to the environment. Human beings should, by all means, avoid climate change, it could be through the planting of trees and reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases by using other sources of energy instead of fossil fuels.
Crimmins A. J., Balbus J. L., Gamble C. B., Beard J. E., Bell D., Dodgen R. J., Eisen N., Fann M. D., Hawkins S. C., Herring L., Jantarasami D. M., Mills S., Saha M.C, Sarofim J., Trtanj J., and Ziska L. (2016) The impacts of climate change on human health in the United States: A scientific assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC. http://dx.doi.org/10.7930/J0R49NQX
EPA (2017b) Climate impacts on agriculture and food supply. United States Environmental Protection Agency. www.epa.gov
EPA (2017a) Climate impacts on human health. United States Environmental Protection Agency. www.epa.gov
Infoplease (2017) Wyoming. Sandbox Networks, Inc. Retrieved from https://www.infoplease.com/us/states/wyoming
McKim C. (2018) USGS: Wyoming is the highest CO2 emitter from energy produced on federal lands. The Mountain West News Bureau & Natural Resources & Energy. https://www.wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/usgs-wyoming-highest-co2-emitter-energy- produced-federal-lands#stream/0
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