Alice Hill: Our climate is changing. Over the past 50 years, we’ve experienced warmer average temperatures on Earth. Human activity, especially the emissions from burning fossil fuels and from deforestation, has caused most of that warming at the global scale. Climate change isa global challenge. The impacts caused from climate change occur locally. We can prepare ourselves and our communities to reduce the harm a warming climate brings. So what are the damaging impacts of climate change? We’re already seeing these impacts. Rising sea levels, heavier downpours, and stronger storms threaten our health, our infrastructure, our water supply, and our agriculture. Flood damage alone has costAmerica more than $260 billion since 1980, and that amount is expected to grow significantly as storms become more intense. In six out of the last 10years, wildfires caused more than a billion dollars’ worth of damages and economic losses.
With more fires breaking out, the costs to communities and agencies are growing at an alarming rate. California now has a year-round wildfire season which, when coupled with drought, is greatly endangering crops while putting farmers out of work and families out of homes. We can’t stop extreme weather, but we can take steps to better prepare ourselves and our communities. So here’s what we’re doing to prepare: We issued the National Climate Assessment which, for the first time, looks at the regional impacts from climate change. And we created a toolkit for resilience that gives people access to data-driven resilience tools, services, and best practices. We’re asking you to take action now. Make a plan with your community, your family, and for your pets, so that you can act quickly when every second counts. Talk with your neighbors, particularly if you have any homebound neighbors. You can make a difference in their ability to be prepared and their ability to better survive any disaster that may befall your community. You can find more tips, tactics, and guides about how to prepare your family and community for disaster at www.ready.gov. Working together, we cantackle the challenge posed by climate change. Take a few moments to make a plan and get prepared..