Climate change has become one of the most pressing issues of the current decade, and will only become more dire over the next 10 years. It is already starting to chip away at our planet. There are clear increases in the frequency and severity of natural disasters and destruction of our natural species.
Yet no one seems to be concerned.
The legislators who could be instrumental in making a change, are too busy quarreling over petty issues. In March, thousands of British school children went on strike to protest about the governments lack of action on climate change. Only a handful of MPs bothered to show up for the climate debate. It also happened to be the hottest winter day ever in the same week. Equally, We are so concerned about the Prime Minister running down the clock with Brexit negotiations. Yet we seem to be completely content with the same behavior when it comes to the potential extinction of all species on earth, including our own.
We’re told that we as individuals have to make changes to stop the oncoming catastrophe. It is up to us to recycle more and to use paper straws. It is up to us to live off the grid and install windmills and solar panels in our gardens. On a global level, these changes are insignificant. It is not us as individuals that can make a change. It is governments and corporations which control and manufacture everything that we use in our every day lives that have to make a change. The very nature of modern economies have to evolve to reward green decisions, and that can only done at the very highest level of these businesses. Until they decide to change their practices and, God forbid, allow their profit margins to slide a bit, we can expect to only be accelerating towards impending doom.
Luckily, there is some hope! Global movements have emerged to tackle climate change while we still can. The Green New Deal is a stimulus program aimed at reforming economic structure in the USA to enable focus on renewable energies. The mayor of New York City, where 80% of CO2 emissions come from buildings, has made plans to ban the construction of glass and steel skyscrapers. For New York, the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2030. In the UK, pressure from the Extinction Rebellion activist group has accomplished their goal in forcing a reaction from political parties. The Labour Party has announced that they are going to push a vote for the government to declare a national environmental and climate change emergency. This would be in line with the goal of preventing a 1.5 °C increase in average global temperatures, which will need emissions to drop by 45% by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050.
But will this be enough? These are still minute steps towards what would be enough to stop the oncoming chaos. According to Greta Thunberg, if we do not reduce total global emissions by 50% over the next decade, we will cross the point of no return. We don’t need to lower emissions, but stop them . The promises set out by our politicians are cutting it too close to what we need to achieve. And after all, they are just promises. With a history of manipulating the statistics provided to us, who knows what the hard numbers will actually be. All we can do is keep recycling, drinking through our paper straws and hoping for the best.