Exploring Climate Change During Spring Break

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There are many places around the world that will suffer from the common impacts of climate change. However, since Galveston, Texas is around an hour away from my house in Houston I chose to look at Galveston County and the similarities with the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta in Bangladesh. Before researching, I was very unfamiliar this area and the struggles climate change would cause these people. Both of these two communities will face many hardships if the sea levels continue to rise. Bangladesh is the world's 7th most populated country in the world, however, these people are on high alert due to the effects climate change will have on these people. By 2050 scientists have predicted that sea level rise alone will affect a whopping three million people(1). In comparison to Galveston County, “nearly half of Galveston’s homes face a yearly risk of flooding by the end of the century if heat-trapping emissions continue to be spewed at the current rate.” Which was reported by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Heat trapping emissions is what both sides desperately need to be reduced but the Bangladesh people face another issue as well. Their main concern when talking about climate change is the shortage of food it will cause. Due to the fact that the rising sea levels in the future will flood a vast majority of their land, the people of Bangladesh are concerned about their crops and food security.

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Over by the Gulf Of Mexico, the residents of Galveston county don’t have very much land that hasn’t been built on already. With rising sea levels, most of this community could be washed away as a whole. Recent hurricanes such as, Hurricane Ike, Katrina, and Harvey have already seriously hurt these people. Hurricane Ike in 2008 was not brought as much national attention as the two others because of its respective size. However, Ike hit directly into Galveston Bay wiping out almost every home along the coast. If you drive through the city today, there are still some buildings and homes that haven’t been touched since. Something that constantly reminds these people what could happen to the whole city in the future. Farther down the coast is Bolivar Peninsula, a small “island” that requires a ferry to take you over to Port Bolivar. Many relatives and friends have beach houses on the island due to the better kept beaches. Again, the Union of Concerned Scientists in their article really struck me when they reported that by 2035 the Bolivar Peninsula will flood every other week if not more. This is when I realized just how serious the situation is.

As much as these problems Galveston community need more focus, not enough can be said for the people along the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta in Bangladesh. There have been reports by scientists focused on climate change that Bangladesh could lose twenty five percent of their land area by the year 2100. Imagine the concern if the United States could eventually lose twenty five percent of our country. If one can imagine, this would likely either happen along the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. For the people of Bangladesh, droughts or long periods of droughts due to climate change is also another area of focus. Like I previously stated, the main concern is the shortage of food climate change may cause and these droughts will only hurt these people more due to the shortage of crops. But there can be ways to fix or at least give resistance to the changes climate change will bring.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “if we make significant efforts to reduce emissions, sea-level rise could be limited to about 15 inches (38 centimeters) by the end of this century.” These numbers may seem small and insignificant, but that’s been the mindset of the whole world for our lifetime which has caused such dangers at the hands of climate change. These two areas I chose to look into are thousands of miles apart, yet they both are on the same timeline with climate change and the dangers to each spot.

Bangladesh has also been a sort of flood prone country, due to the monsoon river flows of multiple rivers across the country and their strong seasonal climate. What’s already hard for these people compared to Galveston, is Bangladesh would almost be impossible to rebuild or save because they are already one of the poorest countries in the world. However the country as a whole has been making substantial steps in the right direction as Bangladesh is ranked tenth in GDP Growth rate as reported by IMF. Another statistic that brings fear to the people of Bangladesh is the fact that two thirds of the country is less than fifteen feet above sea level(2). Unlike the United States with many different landscapes throughout our country, Bangladesh is very vulnerable as a whole. More attention needs to be brought towards reducing emissions in order to preserve many inhabited areas across the globe. Even I had no idea just how close to home the effects of climate change could cause serious damage. Over spring break, ironically enough, I spent two days throughout the week with friends in Galveston and also Port Bolivar and now I’m reading about how the whole island is under serious danger. When spending time by Port Bolivar it’s impossible to notice the amount of million dollar homes all around you, some that are not built up on “stilts” like others. It’s already almost 2020, and by 2035 the island could be flooding every other week! I have not once heard any talk about the effects climate change could have on Galveston, a short hour away from me. Now that i'm hundreds of miles away I am very glad i chose Galveston for this assignment because it seems these people are blind to the effects of climate change.

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