Multimedia journalism organization The Story Group has teamed up with some of the scientists who helped put together the recent National Climate Assessment to tell the stories of what is happening to the United States because of climate change.
The result is a series of online short videos called ‘The National Climate Assessment: Americans on the Front Lines of Climate Change’ that shows different climate impacts and how they are already affecting different people and families across the U.S.
The videos start in Elk Creek, Colorado where the Fire Chief tells viewers that while March used to be the snowiest month of the year, they’re starting to have summer-like conditions earlier and earlier, leading to a longer and more dangerous fire season. Fire Chief Bill McLaughlin says that Colorado is starting to become like California – with a year-round fire season.
Another video looks at the drought in Plainview, West Texas, which was featured in the first episode of the Showtime series Years of Living Dangerously. The permanent drought conditions in Plainview have pushed the entire community to its limits, and as rancher Kevin Igo points out- just like humans, cattle don’t like it when it’s hotter than 95oF (35oC) and neither does the corn crop.
The third personal impact story looks at the Taylor family in Shelton, Washington where five generations have worked for the family oyster and shellfish business. Ocean acidification in Puget Sound is threatening not only their business model, but also a central part of family traditions for over a century.
The remaining videos look at different impacts and the scientists working on those front lines. From the costs of sea level rise on properties, to heat and drought on agriculture, and extreme heat and air pollution on health, these impacts are happening now and affecting people across the U.S.
The videos help to bring closer and personalize many of the climate impacts that are already an everyday concern for many Americans, and aim to raise awareness of the fact that while climate change was often considered as an issue for the future, it is now an issue firmly in the present.