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Tire tracks cross the soft mud of the shore of the Salton Sea on March 20, 2012 south of Mecca, California. The shrinking salt lake is exposing more and more fine dust, posing health problem as blows it across the region.
By the middle of July, corn and soybean fields across America’s agricultural Midwest are usually a sea of deep green, but not this year. Weeks of record heat and a lack of rain have plunged as much as 80 percent of the country into a severe drought.
In Colorado, wildfires have claimed thousands of acres, hundreds of homes and several lives. In agricultural states like Iowa and Illinois, authorities are concerned that the drought will have long term effects on the local, regional and national economies. And California isn’t exempt. Although California’s drought isn’t as severe, nine counties have been declared disaster areas due to the ongoing dry conditions, which is the worst since 1956 on a national scale.
How will the drought affect America’s struggling economy? What will be the wide-ranging affects of the current climate conditions?
Peter Gleick, President and Co-founder of The Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security
Sandhya Dirks, reporter for Iowa Public Radio