Our lungs were scorched.
A summer of heat, fire, and drought has brought climate change to the forefront of many Europeans’ minds, including our readers.
There are fires and smoke in France and Italy.
So far this summer, France has lost 62,000 hectares to fire. Huge fires raged in the Gironde area of France’s west coast, where Guy Duffaud resides. “We can see bushy dunes that separate the bay from the flames south of Arcachon,” he remarked. “At first, smoke fell on us from throughout the bay.” The aroma came in ripples. One night, we saw fires across the dunes as we heard the propane tanks of the camping ground behind the dunes burst one by one—it sounded like a war zone.
Allison Duval, a resident of neighbouring Bordaux, is concerned about the impact on air quality. “Our lungs and eyes felt like they were on fire,” she stated. Because schools and nurseries lack temperature control, we were strongly advised to keep our little children home from school due to the serious hazards posed by the weather. heat.”High temperatures,” she stated during the summer’s hottest days, when many temperature records were broken in France. It has had a clear and ongoing detrimental influence on our general well-being.
“I am really concerned about the status of our planet for a better future.”
The flames in and around Vibonati, Italy, brought home to Flavia Sollazzo the situation she is working on as a climate advocate for the Environmental Defense Fund in Brussels. “I realise the consequences of climate change and attempt to change policy every day,” she continued. However, experiencing this firsthand — something I’d never seen before on trips back home — really hammered home the message that I want to make to decision makers: climate change is real. is real, that it’s practically on our doorstep, and that unless we act swiftly and decisively, it will get much, much worse.
The trees throughout Europe turn yellow.
As a drought gripped the continent, several of our readers saw trees in their cities shedding leaves or losing their green tint earlier than usual.
“The trees along our neighborhood park all went brown at the beginning of August,” remarked Marit Simons, an Amsterdam resident. This has never happened in the middle of summer before; they are falling blossoms and may expire owing to the humidity. ” Vilnius’ summers have been warmer and drier than usual. In recent years, he claims, wreaking havoc on the linden trees that line the streets of the capital’s old town.
“Older poplar trees are taken down on an annual basis because they can’t keep up with the new electricity grid,” he explained. “First, the leaves turn yellow and brownish, then scatter, and the tree dies.”
The demise of Vilnius’ trees makes the city and its residents more exposed to heat waves, according to Straukas.
When they die and are cut down, the shade is gone, and the temperature rises in cities. “City clerks work hard to start seeds in trees, but little flowers cannot cover the loss of great old trees,” he said.
An anonymous German reader from Karlsruhe reported seeing her building’s caretaker fill “a vehicle trailer full of dead leaves in mid-July.”
She has also seen fewer insects, “despite having the window open at night,” she says.
There aren’t many insects coming in-the last two were ladybugs three to four weeks ago.
Truffles on the move
Caspar Urban, a reader from Sainte-Croix in the Swiss Jura highlands, shared his truffle-loving neighbor’s story.
The neighbor, according to Urban, has a curly-haired dog trained for truffle hunting, and in the late summer he begins digging for the valued fungus in the woods outside their hamlet, eating “what he discovers himself or along with pals.”
But the truffle search has evolved, he claims. The neighbour and his dog frequently find success at the base of hornbeam trees — and have seen that these trees have steadily increased in the region, which is more than 1,000 metres above sea level.
“The hornbeams may be found higher and higher up in the forest,” Urban explained, adding that the tree was sensitive to climate change and was moving to greater elevations. Last year, research discovered that hornbeams were increasing their range due to global warming.
“The truffle makes its way to higher elevations because it interacts peacefully with the base of the hornbeam or oak,” he stated. “It has risen from 700 to 1,200 metres in height.” The weather is volatile.
One anonymous Norwegian reader from Trondheim described it as “the coldest summer I can recall.” He did, however, say that the weather in the central Norwegian city has been irregular in recent months, which he attributed to climate change changing the polar jet stream air current.
“We’ve experienced flash floods with no warning, and the environment has been essentially volatile and unpredictable,” he added. “I believe the North Atlantic jet stream has already begun to impact my community.”
Some people see the bright side. “For a northern nation, with 200-plus days per year too cold and maybe 10 days too warm, it really feels fantastic,” one reader from Poland remarked.
But, as Victor Alen, a Brussels resident, pointed out, “I obviously observe how others around me react to the weather differently.”
Whereas a few years ago, it was common to be thankful for really nice weather, more and more people seem to be dreading high temperatures. We tend to observe how this is indeed not normal and looks to be getting worse year by year. So it’s not today’s temps that could frighten us, but what’s to come. “
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Every European is witnessing the effects of global warming every day, even if it is not always visible. At the same time, people’s working habits and the fabric of our cities are changing as a result of attempts to transition the economy away from fossil fuels and adapt to changing weather patterns.
Climate change cannot or should not be blamed for all of these situations. That is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for many local impacts, whereas some changes would have occurred without human interference in the climate.
However, our readers’ observations of occurrences associated with a warming globe, shared from across the continent, help us better understand how Europeans see climate change affecting them. This, in turn, has the potential to influence the collective political worldview. Voters may be more likely to accept uncomfortable policy changes if they see a direct influence on them rather than one that is far away or distant in the future.