With everything going on, you may have missed the IPCC report that was recently published. If you don’t know (and you probably don’t) the IPCC stands for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to their website, the IPCC “is the United Nations Body for assessing the science relating to climate change.” You can check them out here.
The IPCC report has determined that climate change has been “unequivocally” caused by humans, and is impacting quite literally every “corner of the planet.” The report indicates that we are barreling toward that 1.5 degree of additional heat, that we will likely reach this level by 2030, and that we are currently on track to heat up by 3 degrees by the end of the century. In fact, to stop warming before the 1.5 degree mark is nearly impossible based on our carbon output.
So, on top of the rest of your existential dread, let me give you an idea of what this means. If we don’t do a shit ton of things (and by we I mean our governments) we’ll surupass that 1.5 degree marker, and hit 2 degrees of warming. That means, among other things, that ecosystems will disappear in 13% of the world. And, if we don’t really do anything, and we hit that 3 degrees of warming … well…that would result in “catastrophe”. That 1.5 – 2 degree range will already result in flooding, droughts, the suffocation of the oceans, famine…the list goes on. So…not super great.
To stop ourselves before absolute climate catastrophe the report states that “immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions” would need to be made to our emissions output. Additionally, the report states that “We can no longer assume that citizens of more affluent and secure countries like Canada, Germany, Japan and the US will be able to ride-out the worst excesses of a rapidly destabilizing climate.”
I’ve already written about how our forests are burning, our sea life is dying, and Climate Refugees are on the rise. This is no longer something we can turn a blind eye to.
But what can you do? I mean, let’s be honest, if you do everything in your power to reduce your carbon footprint, it will not stop the change that it coming. It will take mobilization on a massive scale to effect change. It will take everyone pulling together for a common cause, trusting in science, and finding solutions that help remove us humans from the brink of catastrophe.
We’ve seen how well we can do that since 2020….too soon?I
Especially in the midst of the pandemic where we seem to take one step forward and about 100 steps back, it’s hard to be optimistic that anything will actually change. That being said, you also can’t throw your hands up and say “well, I’m not going to make any changes to my personal behavior or habits because catastrophe is inevitable.” No, it’s not inevitable, that’s the point. We can make choices that will get us out of this, becoming complacent won’t help us create change.
So, yes, you should do everything you can do to reduce your personal carbon footprint. But, you should also vote!! VOTE IN EVERY ELECTION, LOCAL AND FEDERAL! Local elections, state elections, federal elections – who are the people in power that will enact climate policies? Vote for them.
It’s a shit solution, but it’s the one we have. Like minded people have to mobilize on a massive scale to elect politicians who will enact smart climate policies. And, we have to hold them accountable to those promises.
That’s the only way.