By KALANI CHEN-HAYES, age 9, KYLIE FREYMAN, age 9, and THEO YANOS, age 10

PHOTO CREDIT: NRDC
The NRDC compared the number of heat days, days of rainfall and days of snowfall to meteorological data dating back at least 30 years. To find out if your state broke any extreme weather records, go to http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records. IMAGE: NRDC

The year 2012 will be remembered as a year of extreme weather and the ninth hottest since record keeping began in 1880, forcing this generation to think hard about what steps are necessary to adapt to climate change.

“This endless cycle of wildfires, droughts, rainstorms and floods leaves a trail of death, injury and destruction that hurts communities, damages our health and undermines [or weaken] our economy,” according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Adapting to climate change means changing behavior or policies with the future in mind. That means rebuilding areas destroyed by a climate-related event or building areas that would be prone to climate-related disaster for the long run. “The way we build for the future and plan, the decisions we make today is what the city will look like when you are a grown up,” Dan says.

What can you do?  Meteorologist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in New York recommends:

  1. Reduce our emissions and carbon footprint. “Keep turning off light bulbs [when not in use] and walk to places instead of drive.”
  2. Share your knowledge. “All changes are local,” Dan says, and goes on to explain that kids should share what they know, change the minds of the people around them so that those changes and opinions go up the ladder to influence state and national policies on climate change.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Sidney, Australia had its hottest day on record in January, with temperatures at 115.7 degrees Fahrenheit, while bush fires blazed through Victoria State in the south.
  • China is experiencing record freezing temperatures below the national average in 28 years, killing 180,000 and leaving 379,000 people in a crisis according to China Daily.
  • Two whales washed up on Long Island, New York, in January and did not survive.
  • The United States was hit with 90 percent of the world’s disaster costs in 2012 due to damaged crops in the Midwest and damage from Superstorm Sandy.