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Listeners Share How Climate Change Is Changing Their Lives

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

This summer was the hottest on record in the United States, just slightly hotter than the Dust Bowl summer of 1936. That's according to newly released data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Climate change is, of course, driving temperatures worldwide, increasing the destructiveness of storms and wildfires. We put this question to you. How have you felt the impact of climate change in your life so far? And here were some of your answers.

KAREN MCCARTHY: My name is Karen McCarthy (ph), and I live in New Orleans, La. This storm - this past storm, Hurricane Ida, definitely felt different. It popped up out of nowhere, it accelerated really quickly. I think that's what was so hard about making that choice to evacuate is our leaders, our governor, our mayor were saying, if you can evacuate, you should. But there wasn't a lot of strategy behind it because it just all happened so quickly.

Now, having some opportunities to reflect back on what's happened over the past few weeks, I'm finding that anxiety starting to raise again. Like, we dodged a bullet, essentially. We escaped some of the devastation that, unfortunately, is wrecking the rest of the state. But what about next time? The one thing that we really don't have the ability to do, though, is move. For so many reasons, that's not an option.

SARAH DIAZ: My name is Sarah Diaz (ph) and I'm from Sacramento, Calif. My dad is a wildland firefighter and he has been for over 30 years, so I've noticed climate change for well over the 10 years that I've lived in Sacramento, I think, because the fires have gotten much bigger and scarier. So an issue that's facing my son's school and lots of schools in the Sacramento area is whether or not to keep the windows and doors open during the school day so that there's maximum ventilation for COVID prevention or whether to keep the doors and windows closed so that the toxic smoke isn't entering the classroom.

My husband is an environmental engineer, and he works in air quality, so he's talked about how many cigarettes smoked is the equivalent of certain air quality index levels and, you know, how many cigarettes would you be comfortable with your kids smoking per day? You know, I would not be comfortable with my kid smoking any cigarettes per day, obviously, but I'm also not comfortable with my kid contracting COVID. So there's no good solution.

JOAO VEROZEL: My name is Joao Verozel (ph). I am from Brazil. We are facing one of the worst droughts in our history. As we say, I'm a child of the caatinga, which is this very specific plant that grows here. And normally, when you go to the semi-arid in the months of June and July during the winter, it's the most beautiful sight you ever have in your life. You know, its mountains and fields, all green, all very, very filled with life. And it's the effects of the rain. And if you go there right now in the last eight or nine years, at June or July, you will not see that anymore.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.