Change Your Mind Before The Climate Does

Have you ever wondered why climatologists try to link everything bad happening to climatic changes? That’s because a huge percentage of negative natural transformations ARE linked to climate change.

The climate emergency has worsened through inaction and the derelict measures of those who pay lip service to the crisis in government. They, our representatives, do enough to render the uninitiated into a dormant state, hoping a bill (in name only) will pacify us all. They have little in common with the rest of us, churning milky words into a buttery reticent blurb of nothingness and a meaningless simmer of speech to dampen the gristle of activists and those who sound the alarm.

Scientists have, for years, persistently published and campaigned to bring research and warnings to our attention. When politicians fail to act, we ask them why they did nothing. This is one of those times. 30 years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a paper titled “Appeal by American Scientists to Prevent Global Warming” warning of the dangers of a coming crisis, but to date, these beacons have been largely disregarded.

“People already care about climate change – the trick is getting them to realize it” – Katharine Hayhoe

Elected officials ignore factual evidence through selfishness that they may not live to see an apocalypse. But this one has entered the room, and its breath, like a match against another, can be extinguished if we take action now. The longer we dig for oil and burn it, the more we pour alcohol on runaway flames.

The question is, what significant event will it take to prick the ears? What cataclysm will we debate before we roll out to put out a disaster of our own making?

So far, two confirmed conflicts have been triggered by burning fossil fuels, thousands have died from heatwaves and islands are disappearing. These events, as deadly, ominous, foreboding and revealing as they are – have sparked little to no action except empty promises that many are dragging their heels to carry out.

Climate breakdown has choked rivers and lands, principally in developing nations that contribute the least greenhouse gases. Europe will be less affected (for now) until ground zero of the climate emergency recedes like a burning sheet of paper. But the western world considers developing nations a kitchen of industry, and if a conveyor belt of mobile phones and clothes keep coming, why do anything?

That is the problem. That is the reason we are drowning ourselves at the point of no return and without acknowledging an urgent call to action – a return will be a far cry. Right now, we’re sleeping in a house with no smoke alarm, and we need waking. We need more authoritative governmental panels, bodies and associations to enhance the ubiquity of climatic breakdown giving rise to a plethora of disasters.

Complacency is stripping our right to live. We must take urgent action now. It is better to challenge than letting remain a scaffold of denialism. Join a group, tolerate letting go of your time off because the grave consequences of delay will summon more than a heatwave. We are looking at sea level rise that will prompt thermal expansion to conjure liquid disasters the likes of which we have never seen before, and economic breakdown that will spawn recession with no recovery and the learning of new and unwanted skills in survivalism.

The signs are all there.

Natural disasters ignited heatwaves that burned the arctic and now temperatures are 5 celsius higher than in previous years, Greenland’s ice sheet melted beyond the point of no-return and carbon emissions are at an all-time high.

Drought is coming.

By 2080, southern Europe will kneel to megadroughts that will slow productivity, turning the economy into a want rather than a need. In the Amazon, a self-sustaining biome that sustains its own precipitation, drought is becoming commonplace and can be expected to “eventually change from a rainforest to a dry tropical forest”.

Sukkertoppen ice cap of south-west Greenland. The left-hand photograph was taken in summer 1935, on the right are photographs taken in summer 2013. Ice has retreated by nearly two miles. Photograph: NASA

Thermal expansion and increasing average temperatures are not only causing wildfires but melting land ice, causing sea level rises to occur and with that, the frequency of natural disasters. By 2040, it can be expected that the Arctic will lose all of its ice which will have devastating results for global weather patterns.

This is climate change.

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom told reporters that 1 million Californians lack access to clean drinking water, which has been considered to be an underestimation. As yearly wildfires engulf residential areas and critical infrastructure, water will become the new gold which will let go of an era of stocks and precious metal purchases. As frightening as this may sound, this idea is made chilling by the fact that bottled water company inception has increased in recent years. Nestle chairman Peter Brabeck declared it “extreme” to say water is a human right. A telling slip of the tongue.

The majority of climatologists, geographers, engineers, (you name them, they’ve studied it) conclude average global warming caused by greenhouse gases is changing the climate. Those who deny the facts say natural factors are at play. But scientists have long measured other variables including the Sun’s temperature, Earth’s orbit and volcanic pollution and they found the only correlation between any measured factor and increased warming are greenhouse gas emissions.

This world has already faced enough environmental injury to scare the living spirit out of us. We live in a time where the aesthetic of our choices has become more important than the consequences of them. Buying from Amazon same day, next day shipping is as shameful and dirty as urinating in public, leaving water running is as wasteful as throwing out food so we need to highlight such acts as behaviours of yesterday, because ultimately – the buck stops with us. We can change where we’re headed, we can change the destination, but it must continue long after we’ve watched a motivational video and it must be sustained for life.

Drought in Somalia Photograph: Ty Faruki

We don’t have to be experts to understand how serious things have gotten. In all honesty, these happenings are a subject we should all recognise. The workplace should be decorated with placards demonstrating changes in negative climate shifts and how we can offset our personal footprint. Schools should lecture on the importance of resetting traditional tracks of the economy to hold off the crisis, but more importantly – the science of how and why our planet is changing.

What we do matters, and it matters to those of the next generation. Failing to change ourselves because we prefer our comfort zone is’ irresponsible. Attitudes of ‘it won’t happen to me’ won’t take into account the lives of our children. Changing attitudes for the betterment of others is all that matters. Kindness towards others is a baseline of human morality and treating others how we wish to be treated. So why aren’t we doing just that?