The Climate Crisis: Are we finally ready to listen?

The climate crisis is the single greatest threat facing our planet. Gone are the days that naysayers can simply palm it off as a problem for our grandchildren, or even our children. 

It quite literally could be any more present. 

From the billions of tons of C02 released into the atmosphere every year, to the soaring temperatures that are becoming increasingly inescapable – the race to rectify the growing crisis is one we’re losing by the minute. That doesn’t mean it’s one we can’t still win though. 

While it’s true that big problems require big solutions, any steps towards fixing this mess that we’re in will need a collective effort that’s built on everyday changes first and foremost. 

So are we finally ready to listen?

Warning signs

Let’s be honest, things aren’t looking too good. According to a study released on Monday, we’re on the brink of reaching a landmark threshold, but for all the wrong reasons. Researchers at Stanford and Colorado State University found that the planet’s temperature looks likely to increase by the dreaded 1.5 degrees celsius over the next decade alone. 

For context, in the years that the world’s average surface temperature has risen by 1 degree celsius since the Industrial Revolution, glaciers and ice sheets have melted, sea levels have risen and we’ve seen some of the most extreme weather conditions on record. 

If we continue on this trajectory, there’s only one way this story will end. Forecasters have predicted that should we reach the unwanted 2C threshold, an estimated 1.7 billion people will fall victim to severe heat waves, whilst almost half the world’s animal species will become extinct by 2100.  

Time to act on the climate crisis now

These environmental changes are often referred to as “the new normal” – that shouldn’t be the case however. Normalising the rapid changes in our daily weather patterns such as wildfires, hurricanes, heatwaves, floods, storms, droughts is a big reason inaction is becoming widely accepted. This must stop in order for real progress to be made. 

On a larger scale, we all know what needs to be done to curb the threat of the climate crisis. What can we do on an individual level though to help spark tangible change?

  • Switch to sustainable transport. Reducing car use, switching to electric vehicles and minimising plane travel will not only help put the brakes on climate change, it will reduce air pollution as well
  • We are what we eat. One of the best ways for individuals to help reduce their carbon footprint is by limiting meat and dairy consumption. We all know veganism is the ideal but even cutting out your meat intake a few times a week can make a massive difference
  • Reduce plastic. Plastic is made from oil. The process of extracting, refining and turning oil into plastic (or even polyester for clothing) is extremely carbon-intense. Demand for plastic is rising so quickly that creating and disposing of it will account for 17% of the global carbon budget by 2050. 

The bigger picture 

Our politicians don’t need to wait for anyone else to start taking action. Nor do they need treaties, international agreements or conferences – they could start right away. Instead, we’ve been given endless mixed messages and a reluctance to fully commit to a significant solution. 

The main problem is that we already have at least 40 years of carbon dioxide emissions to “compensate” for. It is all up there, in the atmosphere, and that is where it will stay, probably for  centuries to come. Whichever way you dress things up, we’re on the brink. It’s integral that we all stand our ground against the greenwashing bullshit that we’re confronted with. Another wrong move could be fatal.