Northwest Missourian Opinion

Summer heat waves plagued Missouri as the state experienced heat advisories for multiple weeks, with temperatures in Maryville, MO reaching up to 120 degrees. July was the hottest month on record, beating out 142 years of previous records, according to an article by the Associated Press. 

In the aforementioned article, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that, in the past seven years, temperatures in July have been the hottest in history. Overall, July 2021 was the hottest July on record, according to NOAA.

This is the climate crisis.

This message continues to be ignored, and activists sound like broken records, but we need to keep talking about this crisis as an actual crisis. We need to keep presenting the science and showing that climate change, something we think of as a future event, is happening right now.

It is dire that we stop using fossil fuels like coal and oil to prevent the worst of climate change. Last week a new report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that we have a very small window to meet in order to achieve this.

A hotter future is inevitable, but we can work to avoid it if we act now.

Current goals of reducing emission by 2050 are not enough. We cannot wait that long because we are already seeing the effects of fossil fuel emissions, now set to increase by 7% this year, according to a Los Angeles Times article.

It seems like nothing is changing fast enough. However, Missouri could start making strides to become a leader in renewable energy use in the Midwest. 

Accounting for about 70% of electricity generation in 2020, Missouri’s largest energy source was coal. Currently, Missouri trails other Midwestern states in renewable energy, but coal use in Missouri is slowly declining as the utilization of wind power roughly doubled in the state.

A new bill in the state recently signed by Gov. Mike Parson will make it easier for energy companies like Evergy to move to renewables by allowing energy companies to refinance debt to build new wind plants. 

Education is vital to tackling the climate crisis. Sunrise Movement offers information about proposed climate justice legislation like the Green New Deal and GND for Public Housing. Knowing what climate change means for Missouri is important to our understanding of the climate crisis as a whole and shows how this heat the state has experienced is becoming exacerbated as time goes on.

Missourians have the power to push for change and further the conversation of the climate crisis. We can tell our politicians how we feel about the climate crisis, and encourage  them to act on it. Missouri’s state website offers information about the state’s legislature, including links to look up and contact your representatives and senators. 

We cannot keep denying the reality of climate change. We need to listen to the scientists, and understand that, even if you aren’t being personally affected by the crisis, you will be in the near future.

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