(CNN) It was the heat, in part, that pushed Eric Beck to leave Los Angeles.
He had built a successful career in the TV and film industry over 42 years, and he said it was a grueling decision. But as a 65-year-old with diabetes and an elevated risk for health complications in the city's more frequent heatwaves, he chose to go.
He moved to Portland, Oregon, three years ago. Beck felt it was a smart decision given the city's historically temperate climate, and one that is relatively insulated from the worst effects of climate change.
This summer has wiped that illusion away.
In ways big and small, the effects of climate change — which scientists have long warned will worsen without swift efforts to limit greenhouse grass emissions — are upending lives across the US. Many residents of the West who spoke with CNN say that they are frightened by the inescapable heat, the explosive wildfires and the unrelenting drought.