Earth Day 2021: Warming temperatures are leading to longer allergy seasons, shifting plants

National

WEST VIRGINIA (WVNS) — Earth Day is a mainstay in American culture for 51 years, since-then President Richard Nixon created the holiday. This was alongside the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.

The EPA seen many successes over the years, from cleaning up rivers to curbing pollution from cars and factories. But nothing they, or their equivalent organizations around the world, did was able to put a dent in rising global temperatures.

Since 1970, the United States saw average temperatures rise 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit. In Bluefield, average temperatures rose by 2.8 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but each degree brings bigger changes than many realize.

Warming temperatures are resulting in longer growing seasons, which prolong and worsen the suffering of those with pollen allergies. It’s not all bad, though. Longer growing seasons mean more time for farmers to grow crops and for people to appreciate the natural foliage and fauna of West Virginia.

Courtesy: Climate Central; Data: RCC-ACIS

But what happens when it gets too warm? Eventually, if left unchecked, rising temperatures could go outside of the optimal range for crops and native plants in West Virginia and other parts of the globe. Different plants require different conditions to grow. As the planet warms, the planting zones where these plants grow will continue shifting north. More information on planting zones can be found on the USDA website.

If you need a reason to be concerned, shifting planting zones threaten the growth of hops for beer, cocoa for chocolate, and coffee beans for your morning pick-me-up.

Courtesy: Climate Central; Data: climate.gov

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