There is no room to deny #climate change at this point in time. While thoughts of water becoming too warm, temperatures increasing, and glaciers melting are discussed on a regular basis, many tend to disregard how certain areas and ways of life are impacted. The fact of the matter is that climate change is having an impact on people’s lives. In the #Italian Alps, climate change is certainly affecting day to day life. Here’s how…
#James Whitlow Delano is a photographer with a focus on environmental concerns. He grew up living in California beside a nuclear research lab. He has worked all across the globe and currently resides in Japan. One of the subjects he works on is climate change. Delano takes his work very seriously – in point of fact, he is the founder of the Everyday Climate Change Instagram feed. This feed showcases the efforts of photojournalists who document climate change across the globe.
Where do the Italian Alps come in? Delano, in some of his more recent work, visited valleys of the Italian Alps as well as the Valle d’Aosta mountains to get a look firsthand at climate change and its impact in the area. What he found in relation to climate change was quite alarming – for the past 30 years, one particular area has been watching its glaciers essentially melt away at a shocking rate. While Delano’s photos are beautiful and showcase the exquisiteness of the Valle d’Aosta, the fact is that climate change is having a huge impact there.
How Climate Change Impacts Valle D’Aosta
Climate change in this area equates to a snow season which is shorter. To give an idea, between 1960 and 2017, the Alpine snow season decreased by an average of 38 days – it closed 26 days earlier and started just under two weeks later – or 12 days, to be more precise. From 2015 to 2016, the warmest winter season on record occurred – only 20 percent of the standard snowfall was received in the French Alps. And this year, practically no snow fell in February.
As things continue to warm up, precipitation will show up in the form of rain. Winter snowpack and glacial ice store water and release it slowly, allowing rivers to be fed that have been relied on in warmer months by European nations practically since the beginning of time. As glaciers recede, less water is stored up to feed rivers, specifically when droughts occur in the summer. The impact of climate change is very real – rainwater drains faster, and it is not stored in the glaciers of the Alps. It impacts livestock pastoralists and farmers, too, because climate change leaves them with less of a chance to fatten up cows for milk and cheese production due to a decreased amount of grass to feed on in high meadows.
Climate Change Influences Day to Day Life
Globally, people need to be concerned with what is happening with climate change in Valle d’Aosta. Climate change impacts day to day life in the sense that the ski season is shorter (thanks to global warming) as previously mentioned, and this is a big deal. There is more of a dependence on man-made snow which can be very expensive in keeping up with the regional industry. Climate change causing a shorter snow season also has an effect on hotels, restaurants, bars, ski schools and so on. Plus, who wants to play in fake snow?
It is not just the snow season that feels the effects of climate change. In hotter, drier summer months, there is less green pasture and with the millions dependent on the Rhone, Rhine and Po rivers, there is a great deal of fear regarding fewer glaciers.
Clearly, climate change is changing the way people live, and the Italian Alps offers merely one example of how this is happening. It is important that we pay attention because small changes will eventually turn into huge ones. We have to do what we can to minimize the impact.