Something y’all don’t know about me is that I LOVE fall. The clear, blue skies, the wind pulling leaves from the grasp of the trees they previously resided on, everything. But my absolute favorite part of the season is the changing colors of the leaves. As soon as they start turning, I always get super excited. Recently, the Washington Post reported that the previous estimates of the effects of climate change have all been hugely underestimated. The chair of the UN Science Compendium’s “Climate Action Initiative” Robert Correll stated that temperatures across the globe will rise to over 6 degrees F (yes, this is twice as high than the Nobel Prize-winning Panel on Climate Change’s prediction). So, what does this have to do with Fall? Everything.
Fall color is seriously at stake. Those luscious reds and bright golden-yellows will not persist. This may seem trivial given that most everything is also at stake if the global temperature rises so significantly, but at least for me, not having gorgeous fall foliage would detract (wait for it…) color from my life. Lame pun, I know, but I’m being completely serious. With higher temperatures comes longer growing seasons, which would displace the timing of leaf fall and alter timing of precipitation and changes in humidity. All of these things are directly correlated with fall leaf color.
Length of day and temperature are the main environmental factors that affect fall foliage color, so if temperatures rise, then the trees will procrastinate their color change. Then add in the increased nitrogen from greenhouse gasses, and our reds will be much less red (if you’re interested in why, look up how anthocyanins; they’re the reason that maples are so vibrantly red).
So, if for no other reason than to keep fall beautiful, do your best to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.