Worst Drought in 1,000 Years Predicted for American West

Summary:

For the second half of this century, significant parts of the United States have been in major droughts. Scientists now are accrediting these droughts to the impact of global warming and its effect on the water supply in certain areas. After much research, by 2100, a thirty-five year of longer “megadrought” could strike the Southwest and central Great Plains. Scientists believe that if we continue to stay on the course we are on, and with our current greenhouse gas emissions, there is an eighty percent chance of this “megadrought” occurring. If we are able to reduce our emissions to a more normal state then there is between a sixty and seventy percent chance of this drought occurring. The reason for this drought is because of the increase in temperatures, which is caused by our constant growth in greenhouse gas emissions. These greenhouse gas emissions are causing more evaporation along with less rain for many regions across the United States. These droughts are impacting our agricultures, ecosystems, and water supplies. In addition, in the American West (California to Oklahoma), eleven of the past fourteen years have been drought years. The possibility of a “megadrought” and the rapid growth of greenhouse gases are a clear indication of why we need change how we are currently living.

Ethical Standpoint:

This issue has a major impact on the idea of sustainability. This example greatly shows how our current actions are not only affecting us now, but how they are going to significantly effect future generations. This issue is simply an injustice that needs to be fixed. In order to do so, we truly need to change the way that we are currently living. We have to generate ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, which, in turn, will reduce the amount of global warming and improve our current drought status. We can reduce these emissions through minimizing the amount of energy we use during the day and being smarter about how efficient we are with the products we use that release greenhouse gases. Also, we could create a limit on the amount of greenhouse gases people are allowed to emit over a certain time span. We are starting to feel the effects of the drought we are in now, but if we continue on the path we are on, the current situation will grow to be even worse. In addition, other than working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we can create more efficient irrigation and water conservation systems. Also, in our daily lives, we can really focus on how much water we use and try and cutback on the unnecessary water that we use. This will allow us to preserve the little water that we currently have. By dramatically changing the way that we currently live, then we will be able to uphold the idea of sustainability and prevent these droughts from effecting future generations.

Personal Stance:

I personally believe that it is our responsibility to uphold the idea of sustainability and ultimately do whatever we can now to prevent these droughts from effecting future generations. It is our duty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implement water conservation systems to preserve the current water that we have. We have to take action and stop this epidemic that could have a major impact on this country in years to come.

Question:

Due to how our current society functions and how basically everything produces some kind of greenhouse gas emissions, what do you believe is the best way to reduce these emissions?

-Joshua Chestnut

Howard, Brian Clark. "Worst Drought in 1,000 Years Predicted for American West." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 12 Feb. 2015. Web. 13 Feb. 2015.

Comment Stream

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2 years ago
0

I believe the best way to reduce the emissions to turn to alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind. Also, we can take shorter showers in order to conserve water.

2 years ago
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The best way is to reduce or set limits on what we do in our lives. Also, look to more Eco friendly ways of transportation.

2 years ago
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I think adding guidelines would help reduce emissions more effectively. It may be harder to introduce legislation that would introduce these guidelines, so I think that we should take a more grassroots approach in which each community would be responsible for creating specific guidelines.

2 years ago
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I think we can't control others but we can control how much we release. So we should stop contributing as much as we do

2 years ago
0

Make steps to eat less meat, use less water. Encourage others to do the same

2 years ago
0

We need to have stricter guidelines and do things such as carpooling and other environmentally friendly alternatives

2 years ago
0

To reduce our emissions we need to move towards greener renewble energy. Coal and oil account for over 40% of the energy we use and thus contributes to CO2 emissions.

2 years ago
0

We need to convert from using fossil fuels to alternative energy renewable sources that emit less greenhouse gases.

2 years ago
0

The first step to reducing society's emissions is knowledge and consciousness--and acknowledgement--of the fact that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon tax is a good idea, where companies are taxed for their carbon emissions. Reducing our personal carbon footprints will help, too--we can carpool and be conscious of what goods we buy.

2 years ago
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We need more limits on nonrenewable energy. And we should plant more trees and reward those who limit their CO2 emissions.