We finally understand that we're killing our planet. The climate is changing and we have to change with it. One thing is stopping that. Time.
After countless years of neglect; realising who is to blame for the torture of our planet has never seemed so relevant. Is it the big companies failing to adapt? Is it the leaders of the world failing to recognise it sooner? Is it our poor education? Or are we all as bad as each other? While we're busy playing the blame game, time is ticking on and the time we have left to save our already doomed planet is running out.
It's difficult to tell what to prioritise and what we should and shouldn't do, but efficiency is key. Research shows that reducing Co2 emission and becoming Net zero will have a major impact on the rate our climate changes. However, it comes with a catch. The more people who put it into practice, the more impact it will have. Many people will struggle to adapt. Many people can't adapt. Does this solve our equation? Maybe. Depending on how quickly our population can reduce our carbon emission, there may be a time where our climate change crisis gains clarity.
We all know that climate change is a natural occurrence and changes slowly over time with the last ice age dating almost 12 thousand years ago, however, at the moment the climate is changing rapidly due to human actions at a rate a lot faster than ever predicted. According to scientists 'the rising global temperatures are already fuelling devastating extreme weather events around the world'. This has a big affect on societies and economies with billions of working hours being lost due to excessive heat. The United Nations also states that the world has experienced fived times the number of recorded weather disasters since 1970 and they are seven times more costly.
Looking into the future, the globe will become a lot warmer. A report from the United Nations shows that the annual global average temperature is likely to be at least 1 Degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels in each of the coming five years. To the average person this may seem like a small, insignificant amount and some in the UK may even be happy to have a bit of warmth! However, this small number could have a major impact to the health of our planet. The most major impact the planet will face due to this is melting ice in the North and South poles, in turn causing even more raised sea levels. The BBC stresses the impact of this; causing coastal areas and islands to become flooded or even go fully underwater (such as the problems Venice is facing). These land losses will impact the growth of food and could cause millions of people to be forced to move.
So, are we running out of time? NASA says that if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, the rise in global temperatures would begin to flatten within a few years. However, due to what we have already caused temperatures would level but remain well-elevated for centuries. The sad news is: the effects of human activities on Earth's climate to date are irreversible on the time scale of humans today. BUT! it may not be too late to avoid or at least limit some of the worst consequences to climate change.
Now we can talk about what we can do to help fight the climate crisis and give future generations more time. UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) has put together a list of ways we can be a part of the solution:
Number 1 is to simply spread the word. To your friends, family, co-workers, anyone! This could be done through joining movements such as 'count me in' or '#ActNow'.
Number 2 is keep up political pressure. A way of doing this could be choosing a specific environmental issue and decide on a specific request and them try to arrange a meeting with a local representative.
Number 3 Transform your transport. Transport amounts for around a quarter of all greenhouse emissions, so try walking, cycling, public transport or carpooling.
Number 4 Rein in your power use. For example, installing solar panels, switching to a renewable energy provider, switching of lights etc..
Number 5 Tweak your diet. Eat more plant-based meals.
For more information and ways you can help the climate crisis you can visit: www.unep.org