Heat-trapping gases created by the dirty energy industry, among other causes, have led to the continued overheating of our planet. This summer saw the hottest meteorological summer on record in the Northern Hemisphere, and that record-breaking heat has had another unwelcome and unforeseen side effect, as allergy season has now extended into the late fall.
What is happening?
According to Climate Central, 50 million people in the United States are allergic to ragweed pollen. While those people may have hoped for a reprieve from the watery eyes and sneezing once summer ended, the rising temperatures have resulted in a longer pollen season.
Analysis by the group indicated that rising temperatures since 1970 have extended ragweed’s freeze-free growing season in 164 United States cities by 11 days on average.
Climate Central also mentioned that “human-caused warming has already led North American pollen seasons to lengthen by 20 days on average from 1990 to 2018”
In some cities, allergy season has increased by over a month. The biggest increases were in Reno, Nevada, (by an additional 39 days) and Bend, Oregon (33 days). Larger increases were observed at higher latitudes, i.e. northern cities.
Why is this concerning?
Heat-trapping gases and other types of air pollution have wreaked havoc on our planet in different ways. Sometimes the consequences of this, while horrifying, are easy to see coming (for example, glaciers melting), but other times they seem to come out of nowhere.
What can be done about it?
There are several things that we, as a society, can do to pivot away from the pollution that is leading to changing weather patterns, extreme weather events, and consistently record-breaking high temperatures.
One such thing is to eat less meat, particularly beef, as animal farming contributes a huge amount of planet-overheating gases, and lowering demand will eventually lower supply. Shunning gas-powered cars, similarly responsible for a massive amount of pollution, is another good step.
Ultimately, however, we must entirely move beyond the dirty energy sources — oil, gas, and coal — that have contributed so much environmental damage and instead turn to clean, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
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