Climate Change Affects Everyone Under the Sun

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Ohio has experienced it's hottest 12 years within the past 16 years. Heat waves and droughts also made this past summer the hottest summer on record for southeast Ohio.

But the temperature is not the only thing rising; the worldwide discussion on climate change is also heating up.

Ohio University Sophomore Grace Keyes attended the People's Climate March in New York City this past weekend. Keyes said it was encouraging to be surrounded by people with passions similar to hers.

"In a place like Athens, there is a small community of people that are active in the climate change conversation," she said. "To be in a group of 400,000 people who shared the same beliefs as you, felt the same way, was absolutely electrifying."

Those 400,000 people have warranted reasons to speak up: climate change has resulted in a 1.4 degree Fahrenheit increase in the earths average temperature within the past century. According to NASA, this trend could continue to an increase of 10 degrees Fahrenheit within the next century.

However, Assistant Professor at the Department of Agriculture Dr. Jana Houser warns there are other implications to be aware of. "You have a longer growing season when you have a slightly warmer year," Dr. Houser says. "As a result of that, the plants and flowers bloom for a longer period of time or you have a longer growing period for those various plants that can exacerbate people with allergies."

Keyes says action on climate change is stalled because people are unaware of how to recognize it.

Dr. Houser agrees but says there are tangible examples of how climate change effects the general public. "The most typical thing that you might see is perhaps an exacerbation of extreme weather," Dr. Houser says. "So perhaps droughts that are becoming more extreme with time or excessive rainfall that are becoming more extreme with time as well."

Keyes urges people who are not involved in the conversation to be aware of the impacts and pay attention to the issue. "It is going to effect you. It's going to effect your health, it's going to effect the societal dynamics of wherever you live," she says. "Change will come– in not so pleasant ways– if climate change isn't addressed effectively."