Arizona's saguaro cacti are leaning, losing arms and in some cases falling over during the state's record streak of extreme heat, said Tania Hernandez, a research scientist in Phoenix. Summer monsoon rains the cacti rely on have failed to arrive, testing the desert giants' ability to survive where high temperatures have remained above 110 degrees for about a month. "These plants are adapted to this heat, but at some point, the heat needs to cool down and the water needs to come," said Hernandez.
Class discussion: July was the hottest month ever recorded. Have you noticed the heat taking a toll on plants and animals where you live? Do you think scientists are correct when they say these record heat waves are the result of climate change? What can we do to help the plants and animals we depend on to adapt to a warming world? How is our own survival linked to the survival of other species? Have you ever asked older people what environmental changes they have noticed in their lifetimes?