Why is it one hundred degrees in late October?
The last week has been subject to some extreme unpredictable weather changes.
Most students have recently moved to Claremont or have not been here for longer than three years. Thus, it can be hard to notice local climate shifts and heating trends.
The truth is, Claremont and the entire Greater Los Angeles Area has been experiencing a heating trend for over a century.
Lack of awareness of climate change among Claremont students prevents resource mobilization and legislative change that addresses environmental issues from occuring.
I looked at daily temperature records from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). I created graphs of monthly temperature averages for the minimum temperatures recorded since 1880.
I chose these four specific months to represent the four seasons. As indicated by the increasing slopes of the models, since 1880, there has been a sustained increase in Claremont’s recorded temperatures.
Why should we care about sustained temperature increases? Are there any negative consequences to this heat?
In fact, there are several social, ecological and economic implications. Beyond buying air conditioning units for old residence halls in August and a jacket to keep warm in November, we are facing the real effects of climate change.
Most recently, Zika-transmitting Aedes mosquitoes have been travelling to areas with warmer climates. Last year was one of the hottest years on record in Southern California, creating “optimal [conditions] for Aedes to expand,” said Kenn Fujioka, manager of the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.
These worst fears have been realized. According to a report by the LA County Department of Public Health, the Aedes mosquitoes have been moving across Southern California since 2015.
In addition to disease proliferation, climate change creates other sources of worry. “The changing climate will not only bring new diseases, but also will threaten water supply, worsen air quality and cardiovascular disease, and cause deaths from extreme heat,” experts say.
Frank Lyles PO '17 wrote his thesis on this topic. He claims that sustained heating is a serious threat to water supply systems such as the Six Basins Aquifer, which distributes water in eastern Los Angeles and western San Bernardino counties.
Heating also exacerbates wildfires and drought, which further complicate the water distribution process.
Although most of us will be here for only four years, as students, we account for a significant part of Claremont’s population, and we carry the responsibility of knowing what is happening to our environment.
As college students, we are in a position of power when it comes to this issue. We can start by shortening our showers, decreasing our use of disposable utensils, and attending talks and events that center environmental issues.
One way to get informed about Claremont's sustainable policies is through taking a look at the City of Claremont's webpage, where they have links to their sustainability goals and plans. Furthermore, the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (LARC) has an online portal for information about Los Angeles' sustainability programs and initiatives.
Valentina Emanuele Jervis PO ‘20 came straight from Quito, Ecuador. Catch her stealing coffee from Carnegie’s lounge.