I’m from a small town called Eastchester, New York, just north of New York City. For me, climate change could mean no more farmers' markets with my Grandmother after Sunday mass. Upstate agriculture will be plagued by excessive heat once temperatures increase by more than 3 degrees Celsius and farm fresh vegetables on the dinner table will be replaced with pre-packaged “alternatives.”
Specialized agricultural techniques may not be enough to keep the food coming, according to William Nordhaus's Climate Casino.
It's not just my Sunday trips that will change, though - based on the National Climate Assessment, everyone in the northeast region of the country should be wary of increasing temperatures, precipitation and sea level rise. The evidence is growing larger as our time to act is shrinking. We're on the path to finding out what climate change means for us the hard way.
This is one risk we should not be willing to take. Even if there was a way to maintain my favorite broccoli and cauliflower supply at the market, getting the food to town poses another significant problem.
The predicted 71% increase in heavy precipitation will permanently flood the Bronx River Parkway. Major traffic on other routes will become the norm as families struggle to clock in on time for work and have a tedious experience even grabbing a good burger in the next town over.
The Bronx River Parkway has its name for a reason. Water originally filled the route before we came along with cement and a tractor, and all signs are pointing toward water filling it again. All solutions are costly, but with no place for another Parkway, elevating the roads might be the only viable option unless people want to start kayaking around the county.
Frequently traveling by water is one thing - drinking it is another. The quality of water is also greatly at risk.
Sea level rise will increase salt-water intrusion into the Hudson River. The Hudson River runs into the state’s water supply, meaning drinking water quality is guaranteed to diminish. Costco will prosper due to the increase in water bottle sales. Everyone else will pay the price.
Eastchester is in the same position as the rest of the globe. The best solution is prevention. We cannot save our crops once we go beyond the point of no return and there is no conceivable way to drain inches of water from the ocean. Between increasing temperatures, precipitation and sea levels, the Earth is slowly consuming our habitat. Nature is supposed to be an ally of mankind, but we are slowly turning the environment into an undefeatable adversary.
New Yorkers need to adopt favorable climate practices before they are forced to adapt to an unfavorable climate.