How climate change can affect Colorado


Lesley Gonzalez, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Lesley Gonzalez – A view of Colorado’s landscape from the Rocky Mountains is shown above. Colorado’s environment as a whole is expected to be directly impacted due to climate change.

Last year was recorded as the hottest year in centuries according to NASA. Many people are concerned about this recent statistic and more so about it’s impact on society in the future.

Throughout the world there have been massive changes in temperatures, weather, and climate, as well as several natural disasters occurring worldwide.

August 25, 2017 – September 16, 2017, two hurricanes known as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey struck the west coast of Florida (including several Caribbean islands along the way). As average year round temperatures continue to slowly increase, the United States appears to be at risk.

The risk also lies within Colorado.

Senior Lesley Gonzalez sits on a rock admiring the view of Ouzel Falls river bank located deep in the Rocky Mountains. (Carlos Ullibarri)

“I think climate change is real because we have scientific evidence that shows how climate change works,” Rangeview biology teacher Ms.Reyes says. “… 97% of scientists worldwide know from facts and evidence that climate change is real and happening.”

As more researchers work together to figure out what is happening to the climate, Colorado sees more changes around us than ever, such as within the seasons.

According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), “Throughout the western United States, heat waves are becoming more common, snow is melting earlier in spring, and less water flows through the Colorado River.”

Climate change in Colorado is beginning to be more and more prioritized as an issue. Trees are being affected from the strange weather patterns and climate.

A few of the things in Colorado being impacted by climate change are as follows:

  • Snowpack
  • Water scarcity
  • Droughts
  • Pine beetle infestation
  • Wildfires

Rangeview senior Denisse Olguín says, “We should keep pollution to a minimum, and start carpooling.”

President Trump shut down several research programs that fought for climate change since he believes global warming is a hoax. It creates a bigger problem by making more methane gas enter our atmosphere, and a bigger hole in our ozone which causes global warming. For Coloradans, this suggests that temperatures will not only get worse, but Colorado can also face less snow.

In the mountains, the trees receive precipitation from the snow. According to the University of Colorado Boulder, 70% of water in Colorado comes from the snowpack. This means that trees are only getting a certain amount of water because the snow is melting earlier in the spring.

Senior Jose Solorzano comments, “…Colorado is being affected in a very negative way. Habitats are being destroyed because of deforestation and other things…”

According to the Climate Reality Project, the main vital source of water for agriculture is the Colorado River, which has experienced drought since 2000.

A stream of water flows down near a hiking trail in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. (Lesley Gonzalez)

Some of the effects of climate change here in Colorado would be that normally, where we have areas of drought, they become more severe, and where there are areas of flooding, that becomes more severe.” states Reyes.

As a community, people tend to raise awareness and talk to state senators. They also donate money to organizations that are fighting to stop climate change and do research.  

If you’re wondering how you can make an impact, cut down on energy and/or water consumption and utilize social media to spread the word. Here are some links on how you can help.

Reyes conluded, “…we should make sure that when you are 18 that you vote, and you vote for people who will support fighting climate change; that’s one of the biggest impacts we can have, getting our legislators to enact rules and laws that will then turn help us fight climate change.”