What does climate change look like in Georgia and what do we do about it?
”We know how to fix this problem. "
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - As heat waves move across the South and wildfires rage, activists are reminding Georgians that climate change is also making a local impact. The good news is we can all do something to help.
An increase in ticks and mosquitoes, high pollen counts, wetter, dryer, summers, flooding issues, trout leaving warm waters and longer growing seasons are just some of the impacts of climate change, already seen and documented in Georgia.
“They are growing citrus in south Georgia, they didn’t use to be able to do that. They are growing olives in south Georgia. Corn is getting hard to grow in some parts of the state because it is just too hot,” said Dr. Patricia L Yager, professor and oceanographer at the University of Georgia. ”We are getting more rain in shorter periods of time and our infrastructure can’t handle it...it is just not designed to handle this much water.”
The Georgia Climate Project is working to combat the negative impacts of climate change.
They are sharing stories of locals, promoting bikes over car transportation, farmers adapting to changes in climate and advocating for solutions they believe will make powerful change in the state of Georgia.
”We know how to fix this problem. There are two categories of solutions. One category is how do we get the carbon back down,” Yager said. She also mentioned the benefits of solar energy.
“We are behind when it comes to our commitments to climate action in Georgia...there are 24 states in the US that have committed to carbon reduction goals, 20 of them have climate reduction plans. We have neither of those...that is why these grassroots movements are so important,” said Dr. Marilyn A. Brown with the Georgia Institute of Technology. “It means moving from coal to gas and now today, to renewables.”
Brown says families can get involved in climate change advocacy in their communities. Small changes like moving to an electric car, eating less meat and composting also make an impact.
“We have to celebrate these kinds of achievements,” Dr. Brown said. ”There is an emissions tracker that Georgia Tech created. All the 159 counties across Georgia will have a monthly reporting of their emissions.”
Just because we aren’t seeing record heat and raging wildfires doesn’t mean climate change isn’t impacting Georgia. Advocates with the Georgia Climate Project say we still have time to combat some of the consequences of a warming planet.
”Climate change is here. It is not something that is happening in the future,” said Dr. Yager.
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