There is a lot to worry about in the world today. In particular, when wars rage it is difficult to focus on anything else, and naturally our warmest thoughts and heartfelt hopes go to the people caught up in conflicts around the world.
Meanwhile, financial pressures after two years of a global pandemic leave millions of people struggling to pay for food and energy. Again, it is difficult to focus on the ‘big picture’ when you are surviving day to day.
And yet, sadly, we cannot afford to take our eye off the climate crisis at the same time.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that climate breakdown is accelerating rapidly, that many impacts will be more severe than predicted – and confirmed that there is only a narrow chance left of avoiding absolute disaster.
Scientists agree that we have entered an age of climate breakdown, and the sixth great extinction of life on earth has begun. Depressingly, we have caused our own downfall.
So we all need to wake up to reality. Right now.
It is easy to dismiss the warnings when many of us don’t currently feel any ill effects, but millions of people around the world are suffering already because of flooding or drought or scorching temperatures caused by climate change, which humans have rapidly accelerated over recent decades.
People are dying now because of the climate crisis. And millions more will either die or have their lives severely affected within all our lifetimes, unless far more action is taken quickly to avert total devastation.
Yes, sadly, there are other big new stories happening which deserve our full attention. But that cannot come at the expense of continued learning, campaigning and most importantly, action, to literally save all life on earth.
It may sound dramatic but the facts, distressingly, back this up.
The time for action is not now. The time for action has long passed us by. But we can still make a difference to make the future a better one.
We MUST retain and sharpen focus on the environmental chaos facing our planet.
Even if we stopped using fossil fuels tomorrow, the temperature would continue to increase, the ice would continue melting, the seas would continue rising, all because of the damage we have already done. Threatening MILLIONS of lives.
We can prevent total obliteration, but have a very narrow window in which to do this. We MUST stay under the critical mark of a 1.5°C increase in global temperature. But the clock is running down fast.
So can we really make a difference?
Can We Save The Planet?
Climate change sceptics will delight in telling you that the planet is not actually in danger. It doesn’t need saving.
They are right, of course. But when people talk about saving the planet, they are really talking about saving all life on earth.
We look to world leaders to implement policies that will make meaningful change. They have all failed us miserably so far. We look to business leaders to take the path of sustainability and be an example to others. Most have, again, failed us.
Capitalism is not a model that promotes saving life on earth. It demands that more and more profits are made. It demands more and more growth, at a time when degrowth has to be the way forward.
Systematic changes have to be made within the next few years, across all countries, changing the ways we are used to living, twisting the ways we are used to doing business. It is indeed probably too much to ask.
But we can try. We have to try. We must put more pressure on the richest people and wealthiest companies, whose actions are devastating life for the poorest on the planet.
We have to demand much more from our politicians. The right noises were made at the latest global climate conference, COP26, but the action required has not followed.
We have to take real, serious, no nonsense action, which groups like Extinction Rebellion have realised, driving Project 3.5 – their plan to turn the world on its head in 2022.
We all have to play our part, because this is our future, and the futures of our children at stake. Is there anything bigger? Of course not.
What Can We Do To Save The Environment?
There are many intertwined issues causing chaos across the planet, from CO2 emissions to plastic pollution, from the destruction of rainforests to the devastating loss of wildlife and habitats.
We make ourselves feel better, to believe we are helping the planet, by driving electric cars, using bamboo toothbrushes, recycling our plastic bottles, going vegan, and on and on and on…
There are those who believe that none of this matters. That all these small actions are futile in the grand scheme of things.
There are those who say that all of these acts, put together, amounts to a great number of greener choices being made, which ultimately benefits life on earth.
I understand the feeling of despair at our relatively feeble attempts, but I believe it is important for everyone to embrace a greener lifestyle, and adopt more sustainable business practices, because the key to progress is adopting an eco friendly, sustainable, ethical, greener mindset.
We are not going to get the support of enough people to place meaningful pressure on politicians and corporations, unless it is widely accepted that a greener way of life is the norm.
This means that our buying decisions need to be green, ethical, sustainable and eco friendly. Everything we do must be seen through a green filter. Everything we are involved in should spark the question in our minds: ‘Is this good for the environment?’
What Will Happen If The Temperature Rise Exceeds 1.5°C?
Let’s be clear about one thing. The world is already 1°C hotter than it was in the pre-industrial era, and that’s not good news. But if warming exceeds 1.5°C, the world will be a very different, inhospitable place.
What is the likelihood of this happening? Well, the current projected rise by the end of this century is a devastating 2.7°C, based on policies presently in place around the world.
Given that governments are likely to step up their efforts (too little, too late, of course), it is widely projected that a rise of 2°C is probable.
Before we look at what that will mean to life on earth, please do not fall into the trap of thinking ‘the end of the century’ is in the distant future, and therefore not applicable to you.
If you have a child or grandchild born today, chances are they will still be alive by the end of the century. And things won’t get bad right at the end, of course – this climate crisis will worsen gradually, meaning we are all going to be affected.
How do we know this? Because it is already happening. Extreme weather patterns have already increased in frequency and are causing devastation at your home and around the world.
Extreme weather is now the new norm, with The State of the Climate report 2021 describing a world that is “changing before our eyes.”
Here are two videos which give a very good representation and explanation of what an average global temperature rise of 2°C will mean…
What Action Can I Take Now To Save Life On Earth?
When it comes to living a more earth-friendly lifestyle, you will discover lots of help and inspiration through our partners in the GreenGreenGreen Directory.
Also, I am a strong believer that the world must act as one. Wherever you live, I don’t care. You are my neighbour. Our actions will affect lives on the other side of the planet. We have to take responsibility for this.
So I am not interested in rewriting advice that has gone before. I recognise the expertise of environment lovers, activists, scientists, educators, journalists, and I happily share their content for you to read, listen to or watch.
In the world of online content, the battle for the planet is one where there are no competitors. We work as one.
So here is a list of vital links I believe you should explore to find out more.
And then take action.
It doesn’t mean you have to ignore the plight of refugees from war zones. Please, help them too.
But don’t take your focus off the climate crisis…