Climate Change in Yosemite

 By Harsharon Sekhon

As someone who grew up in California’s San Joaquin Valley, I’ve been lucky enough to explore the various landscapes the state has to offer. The valley is centrally located to many of California’s attractions, so day trips have always been part of a regular routine for my family. My favorite place to visit is a national park close to home—Yosemite. Since I live less than an hour from the southern entrance, I’ve visited Yosemite countless times and I’m always eager to go back.

There’s a reason for Yosemite’s international fame. It houses granite monoliths, grassy meadows, and my favorite feature: groves of ancient, giant sequoias. While visitors admire these trees, many people are unaware of the effects climate change  has on their chances of survival. Giant sequoias rely on water from both rain and snowfall, which are decreasing due to droughts in California, an indicator of a changing climate. These droughts are leading to wildfires that are becoming more frequent and devastating  for the park.

Since EPA Administrator McCarthy has made combating climate change a major priority for the EPA , interning here has meant a lot to me. Working in EPA’s Office of Public Engagement has not only brought climate change issues to my attention, but it has also taught me how many diverse stakeholders’ livelihoods are affected. Though many Californians, including myself, don’t see immediate effects of climate change such as hurricanes and tornados, I’ve learned that there are many other ways in which it remains a threat. Whether it’s climate change, air quality, or just getting outside, it has been rewarding to see firsthand how the EPA works to ensure a safe and healthy environment!

 About the author: Harsharon Sekhon is a fall intern with EPA’s Office of Public Engagement and is a graduate from the University of California, Irvine. For fun she likes to tread lightly through forests and moonlights as a Julia Child impersonator.