For the last 5 years or so, I’ve noticed that trees are having a hard time shedding their leaves in the winter. Well into November, many trees will still have their leaves. This was unheard of even 10 years ago. The leaves will eventually fall because of a very windy storm. But not because they’ve fallen on their own.
I remember asking a friend about it a few years ago. I asked her if she thought it was strange that the leaves were still attached to the trees although they were dead. She told me that it was just “a really wet autumn” and that’s why they hadn’t fallen yet. I didn’t tell her that this had happened for the past few years as well. It seemed I was the only one to notice at the time. Although, I should have known she wouldn’t think this was strange since she grew up in Louisiana.
More recently, I’ve noticed flowering trees in full bloom in August. These are absolutely gorgeous blooms, however, this is normally a springtime event. While beautiful, these flowering trees are a sign of how messed up our environment has become.
One day last month, I looked out of my window. I noticed the trees had patches of brown leave and thought to myself, “Oh, the leaves are changing!” But as soon as I thought that I realized that it’s July, and this is not something that happens at this time of year in the US.
That’s when I had the startling revelation that patches of leaves had actually burnt because the temperature was so hot. It wasn’t just one or two trees either. Many trees across my region had patches of dead, dried-up leaves on them. They are starting to fall off of the trees now. But in all of my years, this is something I’ve never seen before.
The IPCC climate report has come out recently. It makes me realize that I’ve been witnessing the initial effects of climate change in my region for years now. I always knew that’s what it was. But since no one was mentioning the effects of climate change on trees I tried to convince myself that maybe I was wrong. But no, one of my biggest life concerns has finally arrived. I’m sure we’ll all be seeing many more changes soon, especially if we don’t start to change too.