Saturday, July 13, 2024

Virginia Group Hears Stories from Nationwide Climate Survivors

A First Street Foundation report found 7.5 million people are expected to leave current and emerging climates in the next 30 years. (Adobe Stock)

TAKOMA PARK, Md. — As summer storms begin, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network is speaking to people about how climate change affects them.

Worsening storms are causing billions of dollars in damage. Sea level rise in Virginia could leave residents in a similar position in the coming decades.

Jenny Sebold is a Vermont business owner whose shop was decimated when the Winooski River flooded in 2023. As a single mother, closing her shop for flood repairs put her in a tough financial position.

“One of them was launching off into the world and I had to often wake up in the morning and decide am I going to feed myself today or am I going to send my kid off to pursue his dream,” Sebold recounted. “He’s worked so hard for his whole young adult life, and so oftentimes I would have an empty belly.”

Between 2020 and 2022, more than 3 million Americans became climate refugees since flooding forced them to move. In response to it and to other climate devastation, Vermont passed a law requiring fossil-fuel companies responsible for climate change to pay into a fund for the state to brace for worsening storms. The New York state Legislature recently passed a similar law.

Southwestern states are seeing the opposite: rising temperatures and extreme heat from climate change.

Patrice Parker is a student and cashier living in Arizona with several health conditions. She said the ever-worsening heat combined with such conditions disrupts her daily life.

“I have increased pain in my bones, joints and muscles, my migraines are worse,” Parker outlined. “More often my fatigue and complete exhaustion, high heart rate, anxiety and depression are always worse when it’s summer because of the heat.”

She added the extreme heat agitates her asthma, making it harder to breathe. Studies show increasing temperatures from climate change promote more ground-level ozone pollution, which can trigger asthma attacks.

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