Weather Crisis Takes the Nation by Storm

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Texas residents lined up outside a grocery store the day before the winter storm began. Photo provided by Creative Commons.

Written by Mia Cammarota, Emma Tetreault, and Robbie Showers

The past year has outdone itself with several disasters. After scientists warned the public for decades about the threatening climate crisis, it only took a few recent devastations for the nation to finally take their call-to-actions seriously. Now younger generations are being left to solve this setback before it’s too late. 

In mid-February, Texas was hit with one of the harshest winter storms they’ve encountered, leaving millions of homes without power for days. The energy demand exceeded what the state planned for, even in an “extreme” scenario. Oil pipelines, power plants, and wind turbines stopped operating, causing energy companies to initiate emergency blackouts to conserve power. Residents received energy bills up to $15,000 for the electricity they didn’t use. Left without hope, homeowners either fled the state or were left to sleep next to their living room fireplace to survive the night. 

Current Wyoming resident, Kim Hunt, was in the process of moving out of Texas when the storm began. “We thought we could get ahead of the storm on our way to Wyoming. We made it to a campground outside of Corpus Christi, just 200 miles from Houston, and had to stop due to road conditions. Then we found a campground and were stranded there for 6 days, and 90% of the campground had no power or water,” says Hunt. 

Hunt’s first-hand experience reveals how unprepared the residents of Texas were. “We stopped at a Walmart on our way home and there were hundreds of cars waiting to see what they could purchase. We got in the store only to find out they were completely out of all food, water, and basic supplies,” and, “We saw people so desperate for heat that they were sitting outside of their homes, in the cold, around fire pits to keep warm.” 

The power outage in Texas isn’t the only crisis linked to weather that occurred recently. A 2019 World Meteorological Organization report showed that the climate is one degree Celsius warmer than before, and this increase will have destructive effects. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active on record, with 30 named storms, 12 of which made landfall in the United States. The western side of the country also experienced detrimental wildfires that caused over 10,000,000 acres to burn. 

After President Joe Biden won the election, he made it a top priority to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. NPR states that the Paris Climate Agreement “aims to avoid the most catastrophic climate change scenarios by keeping average global temperatures from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably less than 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, compared to pre-industrial times.” 

Following these numerous catastrophes that have left communities pleading for help, the country is finally beginning to realize that climate change isn’t just a “phase.” Woodgrove High School senior, Kaitlyn Brooks, explains how her generation will work to reverse climate change by saying, “I think that my generation will take action to diminish climate change through looking for more efficient energy sources and simple ways to save energy in our homes. For example, using solar energy and hydroelectric power can diminish carbon emissions and lessen the climate change occurring throughout our world.”