Are we really doomed?

Picture credits: Scientific American magazine

We have never cared enough of our homeland. We have always treated it so badly believing nothing of danger can ever take place. In retaliation, however the very place we call our ‘home’ has been very patient with us just like parents are with their children. Human race seems to have forgotten that every action has a reaction and that reaction is lingering upon us for quite a long time now. Climate change is a very big concern. It is sad it is not being given the highest priority by the political leaders. It looks like the issue still lacks a lot of political will. There are important questions that puzzle a lot of people (especially those who care about climate change): Are we really doomed? Is it too late to reverse the ecological collapse? Are we seriously running out of time? These questions are quite daunting. Yet we must address them so that we have a clearly laid out plan to do our best.

It is obvious that earth’s atmosphere is majorly comprised of nitrogen and oxygen. There is carbon-dioxide too but its percentage is very low: 0.04%. Unfortunately, the percentage is rising and the more carbon-dioxide is in earth’s atmosphere the hotter the earth gets because Co2 traps sunlight that comes in the atmosphere. According to a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) global carbon-dioxide emissions flattened at 33 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2019 after a consecutive increase for two years. This may sound like positive news but the number is still very alarming.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published in 2018 revealed that if we want to limit warming to an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century we will have to limit the carbon emissions by 45% by the year 2030 and further cutting down carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. It looks like we have 10 years left to prevent climate crisis to a greater extent and 30 years to complete the job altogether. But to scientists the time frame seems a little misleading to general public.

“The world will not end if we pass 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming above preindustrial levels,” said Katharine Mach, a climate scientist at the University of Miami. But such deadlines give forth an important message: every year we delay addressing climate change is an invitation to an ecological catastrophe. An ecologist at Georgetown University, Colin Carlson believes there is no point in debating which year climate change is going to show up because it is already here. His research has shown that diseases caused by mosquitoes like dengue and malaria prevail more in warmer climate. Every year hundreds or thousands of people die. I know my opinion is going to be completely anecdotal but I am seeing already how mosquitoes prevail in my neighborhood even in the month of December!! They don’t seem to go away for the whole year. Many regions in North America, South America, Africa and Asia are also becoming very hot to grow crops. Sea levels are already rising which is making it difficult to live in the coastal areas. Coral reefs are getting wiped out. High water temperature is making it very hard for them to survive. As a result, half of the corals have been lost in the Great Barrier Reef in the last two decades. Plants and animals will have a hard time to evolve because of the destruction we are causing to Mother Nature. Just imagine how hot it would be in areas near the equator!! We are already seeing forest fires all over the world. In the last months of 2019, Australia witnessed worst-ever forest fires killing or severely damaging crores of animals. Thousands of people had to leave their homes and the country suffered millions of dollars of property damage.

Sir David Attenborough who is a natural historian and broadcaster believes things are getting out of our hands and they are only going to get worse if we still stay ignorant. In one of the interviews with Channel 4 he said his biggest fear regarding the implications of climate change is that there is going to be mass civil unrest and mass migration. When asked if it is actually too late to reverse climate change he said, “It’s too late to reverse it. Not in my lifetime, but in the next lifetime. I don’t think you can reverse it. I think the best that we can hope is that we will slow it down, and slow it down considerably.”

Climate change is a very serious problem. I personally disagree that we can delay it any further. The best time to do something about it is NOW. Nothing ever gets done until we prioritize it and it seems like leaders do not look at climate crisis as a priority. With innovations made possible with science and technology we humans have drastically changed the course of our lives. What’s needed right now is to use brilliant minds to innovate methods that can help tackle the problem of climate change. The situation should not be taken lightly anymore. It is true things are not so good no matter what is being projected. But we must not lose hope. We should stay positive that a lot can happen if we take the right steps at the right time. And that time is not tomorrow, day after tomorrow or 4 months later. The right time is NOW.

Why you must care about Climate Change?

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If I ask you about COVID-19, I am 100% confident you’re going to say it is AWFUL. There is no way you could possibly deny that you have never experienced something like this before in your life. Because let’s face the truth: nobody has. The way we have been messing up with nature and the environment this pandemic was completely inevitable as Bill Gates talked about it in his famous Ted Talk. We were not ready for this pandemic and now we are paying the price. It is very unfortunate to say that the cost has come in forms of millions of death, economic hardships and constant apprehension to leave our homes.

Nobody talks about climate change (excluding Bill Gates and many others I do not know much about, yet the percentage is very low) because it is not interesting and profitable. Had it been profitable every country and leader would have jumped and grasped the opportunity. I do not mean to sound pessimistic because a lot of work is going on to tackle the situation. Nevertheless, the pace is very slow. We need to accelerate the process.

No matter what people say let me get one thing straight. Climate change is real. It not a hoax. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, there has been a rise in the percentage of Americans believing that climate change is definitely a threat to the well-being of Americans and should come as a top priority. In 2009, the percentage of people believing that climate change is a big concern was 44% and the number jumped to 60% in 2020. However, this rise has been majorly among the Democrats. This simple statistics is clearly showing that people are now thinking of climate change and they want it to be on a priority list.

We all must care about the ecological collapse that is happening. It is not going to get resolved on its own. Sadly it is getting worse and it is only going to get a lot worse. And the cost will be a huge burden on countries. It becomes difficult for people to understand just how serious the situation is and so they don’t give it a thought. Probably if people knew how climate change is going to affect them directly they might stand a chance to grasp the insidious nature of ecological disruption. Let me put some very good reasons.

1. Comfortable home. More cost.

Everybody loves a comfortable home but we don’t realise that an increase in global temperature is making summers warmer and winters colder. Air conditioners have become very common. It is very difficult to survive each hour in hot summers without air conditioners. Heaters have also become common in cold winters. Eventually they all add up in increasing our electricity bills. The more their usage the longer the bills to pay. In the US (people living in North-eastern areas) it has already been seen that customers’ utility bills increased by 20% in 2014 as compared to 2013. If you still don’t believe me, just pay attention to your electricity bills and do the comparison.

2. Food security

Climate change is also increasing the problem of food security as it is affecting the production of food. Morning coffee fix which majority of us need everyday just might not be available soon because climate change is reducing its production. Altered growing conditions are also affecting the production of wine in wine producing areas. When production is low it becomes natural that the cost is going to sky rocket.

3. We need clean air to breathe

Pollution has now become a very big problem. This has a direct impact on people’s health and causes asthma, heart and lung diseases. So many vehicles running on roads are increasing the levels of carbon emissions into the environment thereby causing an increase in global temperature. According to the data by NASA, since 1884 there has been an average increase of 0.99 degrees Celsius in the global temperature. Smog is another reminder that we no more have clean air to breathe which is very unfortunate. Can you imagine that we no longer have clean air to breathe let alone food and water?

4. No other choice

In the simplest possible words I will say the most important reason to start caring about our earth is that we no longer have a choice. We are delaying its urgency and it is only going to cause bigger troubles in the coming years. If we take the first step today we can still make it. We can still save our habitat. The real question is, “Are we willing to do it?”