Our World on Fire: The Effects of Climate Change


Photo by Mike Lewelling

Sierra Garrett

We only have one planet.  This idea is encapsulated by Terri Swearingen, a nurse from Ohio, who stated, “We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to.” 

Many people do not realize that the increase in global temperature is mostly caused by humans. It seems as now there is always a part of the world that is on fire and that is because of the rising temperatures humans have caused.

 Not only are people responsible for climate change, which triggers many fires, people also start a fair share of fires directly.  

Dryer conditions make it easier for fires to spread and harder to put them out.  Just a tiny cigarette that was thrown out of a car window can cause a major fire. 

Fires spread rapidly and have a tremendous impact with such a little amount of effort, so precautions need to be taken. The dry grass and brush act as a kindling.  As soon as a certain amount of heat hits, a fire forms and the dry environment will make it extremely difficult to contain.

These fires have affected many lives. The California fires alone have taken over 14,000 homes and, at one point, a reported 296 people were missing (only about half have been safely located). 

These fires are only going to continue to get worse if climate change is not addressed.  Climate change affects the temperature of earth’s surface and weather patterns. Carbon dioxide traps heat and the more we produce the more heat we get. The warmer temperatures cause snow to melt approximately four weeks earlier which means that soils, plants, and forest are dry. This also causes droughts, unusual rain patterns, and insect outbreaks which leads to a mass of dead trees.  Introducing a fire into these conditions is disastrous.  

Climate change is happening and it’s resulting in terrible fires. So who is responsible for climate change?  According to The Carbon Majors Database, “Just about 100 out of all hundreds of thousands of companies in the world are responsible for 71% of the carbon emissions that cause global warming.” 

 You can help reduce the carbon footprint by speaking up and using social media platforms to spread the word in hopes that new legislation could add restrictions for these companies.

 Fires can start in a matter of seconds and because of the dry environment it’s extremely hard to contain. Fires cost many homes and many lives. To help prevent fires, climate change must be addressed.  In the end, all that matters is that we do our part to keep our planet for as long as we can.