It is an exciting, tragic, and unrelatable time that we live in. Humanity has come a long way in just 200 years as a consequence of greater access to energy. Only now does it seem that the world is coming to recognise the existential threat that is climate change, which has stemmed from our adjustment to a life of luxury. I warn you, this is a wee bit of rant.
I heard of this story in 2005 from Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” when I was 10. However, it is saddening to know that the risk of climate change and the impact of burning fossil fuels has been known for over 100 years. They thought it would take a few centuries to get to where we are today.
However, to reach the stage where we are today is a failing on so many parts of humanity, and it is very very tempting to point the finger at a certain few (cough * the rich * cough). We are now at the point where 20 of the last 22 years have been the hottest on record. Throughout my life, the phrase “ignorance is bliss” has only become increasingly relevant, and if I’m honest, it is truer now than ever. We have been actively lied to since the 1970’s, and they have known since not long after the likely impacts which would be had.
But while it is easy to be bogged down in the growing realities associated with climate change, there is nothing worse that we can do than to give up. This is the survival of modern-day civilisation after all (as frustrating as it is sometimes). I have no doubt that the human species will survive through these coming events, but the reality is that the world will face some stark and tragic crisis in the next 80 years (and on). We face the choice between try and maybe have a collapse of society, or live it up for 15 years or so, then definitely die. Either way, it is likely that land which was once prosperous will be lost to the sea. Areas where it was once hot will become uninhabitable. The ice caps will melt, and biodiversity will plummet. Oosh. Climate change will be the cause of a refugee crisis on a scale that has never been seen before. The worst part about it too is that the people that cause it will be the last to be affected.
If you are reading this and getting down, there are some things that you can do. First. Stop eating meat every day. You don’t have to stop completely, but realise that you are a privileged person living in one of the best first-world countries out. You don’t need it. Next is to reduce your consumption in general. Buy the product that costs more but will last ten times as long. Don’t buy the plastic wrapped plastic wrap that you don’t even need. Don’t put your fruit and vegetables in the plastic bags still provided in the “plastic bag free” supermarkets. Stop driving your car one kilometre down the road to the shops. Go for a walk – the environment and your body will appreciate it. However, the average UK citizen produces 13 tonnes CO2-eq per year. This type of behaviour will reduce that to 11 tonnes, so more needs to be done. You have power as a consumer.
If you want some up to date and well presented information, please please please watch the documentary “Climate Change: The Facts” produced by the BBC and your boy David Attenborough. It is 55 minutes worth of condensed reality shock. We didn’t get here by accident. It was well known. The least we can do now is acknowledge what we know and do our best. Be it for your kids (if you think they are worth having anymore) or for the billions of people who will be affected by climate change before you in the so called “developed” world. What happens in the next 10 years will affect the next 1000.
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