Last week, a chilling story broke the news.
A policy paper from the National Centre for Climate Restoration in Australia reported that if humans don’t stop emitting greenhouse gases into the environment, we will be living in a climate change apocalypse by 2050. USA Today and others have called it the “end of civilization.”[i]
2050 could very well be the end of the world as we know it.
This is not a drill.
The report went on to say that nations across the world must work together to prevent the rise in global temperatures, to keep our world below 1.5 degrees Celsius. If no action is taken, 3 degrees Celsius or higher is likely, causing devastating floods, wildfires, storms, and droughts. Over one billion people will be displaced, resulting in war, bloodshed, and anguish over precious natural resources.
It’s 2019, and we’re already experiencing the beginning of this. Last year our nation alone was ravaged by forest fires and drowned by storms. It’s no stretch of our imaginations to picture a world that is more extreme.
When we read about the realities of our current trajectory, many of us feel a profound sense of fear, hopelessness, doom, and even indifference. The scale seems unsurmountable. It’s like a train accelerating on a track that we know is broken, and knowing that it will round the turn and plunge into the fiery abyss. We know it’s coming, we see it coming, and yet we stand frozen and immobile.
But here’s the thing. When we are consumed by fear, we get distracted from the opportunities and actions that must be taken immediately to buy ourselves time. The 2018 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report stated that we must reduce fossil fuel usage today, and that these transitions must be well underway in the next twenty years to keep our planet under 1.5 Celsius. If we take action now, there’s hope that we could stabilize our global temperature.
They say that desperate times call for desperate measures. We have seen our nation make swift changes during World War II and post 9/11. We are capable of radical changes in our habits and behaviors under threat. And climate change is the biggest threat that we will face in our lifetimes. I’m choosing to have hope.
We’re seeing hope in the work that we do every day with our clients at Action Mary. We see companies like Adidas who are making sneakers entirely out of discarded plastic bottles from beaches and oceans. We see companies like Share Farm who are connecting local farmers with nearby customers through an app, encouraging a hyper-local economy. We see companies like Humming Hemp who are part of a movement to create more sustainable crops that can be used to make both materials, and nutritious food. And we see companies in our backyard like Pike Place Market whose vendors sell locally grown food and flowers and handcraft items made with local and sustainable materials.
Despite our knowledge that all of our lives will end at some point, our will to live is stronger than our desire for short term pleasures. I believe in our human collective to rise to the challenge of climate change, to be scrappy, and to radically reinvent the way we inhabit our earth.