By Michelle Kofman
“We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
I’ve always listened to people who are trained in a profession, like my professors, scientists, doctors, etc. It makes it hard for me to understand why people don’t believe in climate science, let alone climate change. Nobody wants the global temperature to increase, nor does anybody actually make a profit from climate change. Climate change poses a serious risk to living life on Earth. Two degree change doesn’t seem like much to humans, but too many species, it becomes life or death. Here are a few facts about climate change:
1. Climate Change is Caused by Humans
This may seem pretty obvious to some people, but it isn’t obvious to everybody. Humans have caused the climate change we are experiencing and pollution is one of the biggest factors.
2. Rising Sea Levels
Climate change is causing glaciers to melt into the oceans, which is a factor of rising sea levels. More than half of the world’s population lives within 60 kilometers to a shoreline. Sea levels rising threats the coastal cities and is causing populations to be displaced. When enough people are displaced, this will become a global issue. There could be up to 1 billion environmental migrants by 2050.
3. Extreme Weather
The atmosphere retains more water which changes the global weather patterns. Wet places get wetter; dry places get dryer. An example of this are the California fires and the recent Australia Fire. Although California is prone to fires, the increasing intensity is a side effect of climate change. The amount of 100-year floods are increasing.
What We Can Do:
1. Make Informed Decisions
The largest 100 companies are responsible for 70 percent of global emissions. They might be big companies, but as consumers, we can make a difference. We can consume more carefully by giving preference to companies that are responsible and support environmentally friendly organizations and practices. It’s important to hold companies responsible.
2. Unplug Your Electronics
Surprisingly, all electronics use energy when they’re plugged in, even if the are powered off. Every time something is plugged into a socket, it’s using energy which is contributing to your carbon footprint. This “vampire energy” costs $18 billion per year in the United States.
3. Use Your Voice
The First Amendment gives “…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Protests are a way of bringing specific issues to the frontline. They bring people together and create solidarity and alliances. Although protests may not change major legislation, they can form organizations that hold companies and people reliable for their actions and business ethics.
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Dr. Jane Goodall, Scientist & Activist