So you have probably been asleep like Sleeping Beauty for years or been in a remote place on the planet with NO wifi or TV if you haven’t heard anything about The Climate Crisis that the planet is currently facing. The following is an attempt to simplify a complex issue into a few paragraphs that will maybe help you learn what is happening to our climate and why we need change our behaviour now to stop irreversible changes that will cause catastrophic changes to our climate that ultimately lead to the extinction of humans.
Its totally understandable if you don’t know much about this issue as its only been a mainstream subject very recently. I was one of the first people in this country to take a Science and Environment degree over 30 years ago and have been working in Peterborough since the early 90s-I have along history in this subject. I and many others have been talking about this for decades but few have listened especially media organisations, governments and big business. It’s time now for them to listen and take action. And you can help influence this action!
Over many, many years scientists have developed an understanding of the earth’s climate and most of them agree that there is global warming from greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans. Global warming is caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, tree clearing and agriculture. If 10 firefighters were outside your house as it is on fire wanting to save your house would you listen to the 1 saying its not on fire? Now substitute scientists for firefighters! The science is clear. Our house is on fire!
Right now our temperatures are 1.1°C above what it would be without human actions and the global sea level has risen by about 20cm as the ice caps melt and our seas warm.. This rising temperature means we are seeing more erratic and disastrous weather events, acidification of our seas killing corals and other life, flooding and droughts, extinctions are at a rate hugely above the background rate, rainfall patterns, forest fires etc.
This all means our food security, health and quality of life are all under threat.
There is no clearly understood point where climate change moves from safe to dangerous for the planet and more seriously life on our planet including humans who could become extinct as warming continues. If the global temperatures continue to rise the planet will survive but we and many other species will become extinct. It is as serious as that and most people do not understand the dire situation that we now find ourselves in. The IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) say we need to keep the rise below 1.5 degrees and that we have now 11 years to change what we are doing to achieve this. The UK’s top ten warmest years have occurred since 2002, and this trend is set to continue.
Solving this crisis is the biggest challenge ever faced by humans. We need to stop our emissions of green house gases which includes carbon dioxide and other released by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and petrol. This is a crisis and we need to act as if its a crisis. Not carry on as before because that path leads to catastrophe and extinction for the human species. We can solve this but it will take action now.
The climate crisis and its solutions are complicated and it will not be easy but we as humankind must do this if we want our children to live in the future. It is simple, either we do this and survive or we don’t!! Think of it as the fire alarm in your house-you would not ignore that and sit doing nothing as your house burns down. That is what we are doing though with our planet-our home-its burning!
We have a choice. We can create action that will enable our children to have a future or we can choose to continue with business as usual and fail. Everyone can make a difference. And as dire as the situation is, we can all work together and create a better future for all. We need to do it now!
5 things you can start doing now to help with the climate crisis:
- Learn about Climate change by asking questions or talking to people who know or by reading books -we all come to something from a place of existing knowledge and experience so no blame or judgement, just lets get better together.
- Look at your impact on the environment by looking at your energy use, transport, food and your own behaviours. By evaluating where we are we can then see where we need to get better in what we do and choose.
- Support those who are currently taking action for the environment-they are working to improve the planet for us all. So write letters, plant trees, buy rainforest and speak positively about what they are trying to achieve. A better world for all.
- look at your use of plastics-buy or make beeswax or soy wraps to eliminate clingfilm use, buy loose fruit and vegetables, look at the wrapping on food you buy-can it be recycled? Marks and Spencer have a scheme that will take most of the plastic currently not recyclable in existing schemes…..
- Start with small actions if you need to give you confidence as it all makes a difference. Small actions state your intention to get better. No one expects you to go from nothing to be an activist in a week!! These small things include energy efficient light bulbs, not using disposable cups, turn off electrical equipment not in use, cycle or walk where you can, buy fair-trade, eat meat free at least one meal a week, don’t waste food, put on a jumper rather than the heating, change to a green electricity supplier and turn the heating down a few degrees.
We can all make a difference, together, even one person can create a huge wave of change!
Written for Peterboroughs Women’s Group Facebook Group.