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Is Climate Change Really the Problem, or Are We?

This image is one of a landfill full of garbage. These landfills cause greenhouse gas emissions which harm our environmental atmosphere and causes global warming.

How over consumption has resulted in the rapid acceleration of climate change

Now, we know climate change is inevitable. This molten sphere of rock that we live on constantly undergoes changes and has done for millennia, even before Neanderthals and homo-sapiens arrived with their spears and coats made of woolly mammoth skins. But how is it that the earth has managed to sustain itself for millions of years but only recently we have started to see it undergo the most drastic changes due to unnatural catalysts? That’s right, us, humans. We are the reason climate change has rapidly begun to accelerate at an alarming pace. This is due to our undying need of over-consumption. You know, the urge to spend thousands of pounds, rupees, dollars you name it, every year on things we don’t really need because let’s be honest, although living standards nowadays compared to the Victorian era let’s say, have drastically improved, it has sadly come at the cost of violating and stripping Mother Earth and her innocent inhabitants (mainly wildlife and natural organisms) of not just their lives but resources too.

What is climate change?

According to the UN (United Nations) the definition of climate change is as follows:

"Climate change refers to the long-term shift in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since 1800’s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. Burning fossil fuels generates greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket wrapped around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures."

So, you see, I wasn’t telling lies when I said humans are one of the main reasons climate change is rapidly getting worse. It is because of the sole need to mass produce things that one does not need nor even want that has resulted in this irreversible, frankly detrimental damage to the Earth.

Although the UN clearly states how the burning of fossil fuels, coal, oil and gas can create an atmosphere that essentially heats up the planet, there are many other factors that contribute to climate Change that affects our environment such as landfills and deforestation, which are further man-made causes. The UN further states:

"Climate change can affect our health, ability to grow food, housing, safety and work."

And with some of us already vulnerable to climate impacts such as those living in small islands and third world/developing countries, our over consumption has proven time and time again that conditions like sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion have advanced to the point where whole communities have had to relocate and extensive droughts are putting people at risk of famine. The UN goes on further to state that in the future “climate refugees” will become more of a worldwide issue.

Scary right?

What is overconsumption?

Popular Science believes that the definition of over consumption is as follows:

"Over consumption is using more than the planet can feasibly make which can plague any industry. It is an excessive demand for food, energy, gadgets, clothes and much more. This demand is what is helping to crush our chance of fighting climate change."

I'm sure we can all think of a time when we have been strolling through the jam-packed isles of Tesco doing the dreaded weekly shop and spotted the most unconventional and downright unnecessary bit of contraption ever made just sat there on the shelves. Please tell me I'm not the only one... Good, because this in turn then prompts us to think, what the hell is that for and how do I use it? And if we have to ask that question on a recurring basis, then that truly signals the prevalence of over consumption because what is the need of these items if we cannot identify it for our survival? The key word here is survival, because according to Maslow's funky pyramid of hierarchy, we only require basic needs to survive and those needs are air, food, water, warmth and sleep. The rest is not actually a necessity, it is just an indulgence.

Now you might say oh Jem you're taking this a little too far, aren't you? Well yes, that is the point. I have chosen to do this to highlight the extremity of over consumption and how, in the name of gaining a better standard of living, we as humans have gone way beyond that threshold and taken it too far, too soon. This has created a modern-day world which seems unfathomable to be able to live as we previously did for thousands of years before. And now thanks to the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk (to name a few) cropping up on the scene, this has caused us to push Mother Earth so far that she now must pay the ultimate price for our sins, gluttony and Iphone 12 Pro Max's. Damn those digital pioneers.

So what can we do to reduce climate change and over consumption?

Greenpeace is a leading organisation that aims to highlight the negative impacts on climate change and deforestation. They have provided a few solutions that we can all actively take part in pursuing, in our everyday lives and some of them are a simple as changing our diet to more plant-based options! I know right? Sounds fairly straight forward, however, for these solutions to really make a change, we as humans need to make a conscious effort to consistently try our best wherever and whenever possible and continue to spread the word to our peers, if not we run the risk of the premature demise of our precious planet. To found out how you can take part in saving our world, head over to Greenpeace for more information.


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