Snow in the South Shows Urgency of Climate Crisis


Last week, the southern United States saw something unexpected: snow. At first, it was a fun surprise and a rare glimpse of wintry weather. Considering the amount of snow we’ve seen at Fordham in the past month, the few inches of snow that the south received may not seem like much. However, states like Texas were ill-prepared to handle a snowstorm, and the results were disastrous. Pipes froze and burst, making clean drinking water inaccessible. Power-generating equipment froze, causing blackouts across the region; days later, some residents are still without power. Without the ability to heat their homes, Americans struggled to stay warm.

Snowstorms in Texas are the latest display of worldwide climate change. It may seem counterintuitive, as we usually think of climate change as the planet’s temperatures rising. However, climate change is about more than the global warming we learned about in elementary school. Experts have emphasized that climate change will lead to more extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, wildfires and storms. 

Warmer temperatures in the Arctic weakened the jet stream that keeps the polar vortex bound to the north. Instead, the cold air plunged south, disrupting the typically mild winters that those states are accustomed to.

Cold weather in the southern U.S. doesn’t disprove global warming — it’s an example of it. 

Climate change is a daunting issue because private citizens lack the power to fight it adequately. We at The Fordham Ram believe that our changing climate is an emergency that requires urgent action, but it’s not up to us. This situation can only be rectified by government policies and actions. Our job is to keep our readers informed and use our voice to address those who have the power to change things.

Politicians and media outlets have paid more attention to climate change over the past several years, and with good reason. The effects of climate change show no signs of slowing unless the government takes steps to mitigate the crisis. However, the Trump administration took no preventative actions against climate change. 

Climate policy was a key issue in President Joe Biden’s campaign, and he issued a lengthy executive order on Jan. 27 detailing his plan to combat the climate crisis. While largely bureaucratic in assigning secretaries and creating task forces, his message clearly emphasizes the importance of taking action.

In a more dramatic gesture, Congressman Earl Blumenauer introduced the National Climate Emergency Act, a bill calling on President Biden to declare the climate crisis a national emergency on Feb. 4. In the time since that legislation was introduced — a mere 20 days — Biden has already had to declare a state of emergency in Texas due to a climate-related natural disaster. The Texas snowstorm may be the first weather crisis that the Biden administration faces; however, we should not believe it will be the last.

Declaring the climate crisis a national emergency would be an important first step to combatting and reversing climate change. The Fordham Ram editorial board supports declaring an emergency as the first of many actions — the words of one politician will never be enough.

The climate crisis faces our entire generation and every generation to come. If we haven’t been affected by it yet, we will be soon. Though we do not have the power to stop climate change as individuals, we must call upon those who have the power to act on it. We must hold our leaders accountable for their actions. We have a duty to ourselves and to those who come after us; we cannot let this crisis fall to the wayside.