If twenty, or even ten years ago, someone in the public said that we’re irrevocably heading towards an environmental apocalypse, they wouldn’t have received much of an applause. Instead, they’d probably would’ve been labeled an eco-freak or some weird tree-hugger.
Nowadays, however, we live in the fastest changing world ever. Every decade over the last hundred years or so brought progress that would fuel further progress. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that this is all thanks to the Internet and how quickly information spreads. This means that what was true or up-to-date a decade ago — doesn’t have to be so today; this seems to be the case with the heated discussion about human-made climate change.
Actually, it doesn’t even look like there’s a debate anymore. Events that took place in late 2018 and, in particular, 2019, were at an unprecedented scale. These ‘events’ were nothing but a collective cry for help in the defense of the basic and ‘youngest’ human right. That is, living on this planet without fear for our and following generations’ futures. As catastrophic as it sounds, modern science gives us many reasons to worry about the condition of our common home.
According to different research studies, we only have a little over a decade to act before we reach the point of no return. That means that if we don’t cut back on the emission of CO2 before 2030, climate change will accelerate and reversing it will not be possible anymore, as scientists say. We would find ourselves riding the climate’s downward spiral and, as scientists predict, this will give rise to weather anomalies and calamities never seen before. This will be particularly prominent in the countries of the so-called Global South. The example that is named most often is the rising level of the oceans. What rise are we talking about? Let’s say that the average global temperature rises by 2°C (35.6°F) compared to the pre-industrial level. The result of such an increase would be water level increasing by 20 inches. For those who live near flood-prone rivers, or on the coasts, it could mean moving out of their homes and leaving everything behind.
But that’s just one example. Another could be that as the temperature goes up, we’ll see extreme weather events happening more often, especially in the places where they aren’t a common thing now. What’s the most surprising fact about it? Those anomalies don’t always have to take form of extreme heat. In fact, climate change can also trigger harsher winters and unexpected cold-snaps in the areas where winters are common.
This phenomenon is a perfect opportunity for all sorts of climate deniers to preach climate change to be the biggest hoax in history. The point they seem to be missing though, is this: there’s a CRUCIAL difference between climate and weather. This article by National Geographic is a perfect poke on the nose for those who are ready to burn the pyre in the name of the old world order. Luckily, this group is an overwhelming minority and they are in retreat now.
On the plus side, there are more and more people who are aware and care about the near future of the Planet. There are a few reasons for that — let’s take a closer look at the two most important ones. Firstly, as scientific facts and prognosis become more specific, time-bound, and present in media, more people learn about the problem in a way that tangibly speaks to them. For those who are ‘eco-sensitive’, this may work like a fuse driving them to stand up against the idleness of governments.
Secondly, there is the emergence of new public leaders such as Greta Thunberg, an outspoken sixteen-year-old climate activist. She garnered the world’s attention after, at the age of 15, she started protesting outside the Swedish parliament, calling for immediate action against climate change. Her story is truly startling; she was only eight when she first heard of climate change but, in spite of her age, she couldn’t understand why so little was being done about it. At the age of 11, she became depressed and stopped talking. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Selective Mutism.
Well… that’s not something we hear of (or will likely hear in the future) every day. No matter how exaggerated it seems to be, Greta is one of the first documented cases of something that is called ‘climate anxiety’. Whether it’s really what it says it is, or if it’s just being pissed off angry, she’s gained massive support amongst (mainly) young people all around the world. On March 15th 2019, an estimated 1.4 million students in 112 countries around the world joined her protest. A similar event, with students from 125 countries, took place on the May 24th 2019.
In the meantime, at the end of April, the world witnessed another ‘landscape’ which was previously unknown to the public. Thousands of activists, from a social movement against climate change called Extinction Rebellion, paralyzed the center of London for 10 days. More than 1000 protestors were arrested for obstructing traffic in the city. Even though the whole protest was completely peaceful, it was a sign of rebellion that was completely unprecedented. To think that this movement has already reached its high point and will only diminish now, is nothing but wishful thinking.
In fact, it looks like politicians have to face a ‘forceful wake-up’ to the issues of human-caused climate change. If THEY don’t start acting now, people have shown that they’re ready to take the initiative to ‘help’ them.
So, in 2019, have we come to the moment of a political domino-effect inspiring global change in the climate policy?
Or, have we fallen prey to an exaggerated mass-panic of anger-driven eco-warriors?
Whichever is the case, the stakes are just too high to find out the truth the hard way.
The clock is ticking.