It was Day 68 of no measurable rain and 34 consecutive days of over 100-degree temperatures. We were in Drought Classification D4, exceptional drought in this town south of Austin where I had grown up riding my first horse at age 5, sitting in the bed of my father’s pick-up as he drove us to the windmill that pumps underground water, or visiting my grandparent’s house where my Papa would regale us with the history of Gonzalez, where the Texans fired the first cannon shot against the Mexican Army during the Texas revolution of 1835.

My work at The Rockefeller Foundation helps support our programs in creating more access to renewable energy and de-commissioning coal and other carbon-based fuels in supplying electricity. I also support our work on the food crisis, which is not entirely due to war in Ukraine, but rather started years earlier from wildfires, flooding, and recurring drought that so affected agricultural lands.

I am very familiar with the science behind global warming. But now I was returning to my father’s homestead to deal with the very real effects: my sister and I were helping him sell 24 calves because we couldn’t afford to feed them any longer.

Hay has shot up from $40 a bale to $120 and higher—mostly because of reduced production due to the drought. Likewise, the pond on our family land is shrunken, though thankfully not entirely dried up like the oil well that used to stand here too—”Texas Tea,” as we dubbed it, which I thought was so cool.

Mesquite trees grow like weeds here, so we’ve gotten some sprayed and uprooted each year, and a vendor often comes gather mesquite to sell the wood for our famous Texas BBQ.  We may have to reconsider that, leave them alone and let them continue to grow as a nature-based carbon absorption tool.

When I see people still arguing about if or how to fight global warming, or who is to blame, or which priorities to put first, I just want to tell them to wake up and look at the science. Look at what has happened so far in my lifetime. This is going to drastically change our planet if left unchecked.

Read the full article about climate change by Karen Brown at The Rockefeller Foundation.