Earth and Climate
Well it‘s been in my head for a while, and since it seems that since the 1.5 degrees proposal by the IPCC, more people are talking about it, I finally got to bring myself to write down my thoughts about it.
First of all. I‘m pretty sure we won‘t be able to meet the requirements for the 1.5 degrees warming. Here is why I think so:
The main part probably is because we do too little too slow, all of us.
We also mostly don‘t think about Earth as something we should take care of together, but we think within boundaries. Starting with myself and my family, but on to cities, states and countries or continents.
Furthermore I think that these studies don’t grasp the complexity of the climate on Earth and are not emphasising the urgency to change enough. We need to act NOW, not in 10 years.
Also there are many other problems on Earth which most of us regard as more important. Then the climate and nature have once again lost the attention they deserve. E.g. Trumpi wakes up one day and thinks that he should be in the headlines once again. And he will, because most people will listen to what he says, because of the position he is currently in. And it is not only him. I’m not that sure, but I guess in Germany, during the last elections, environmental protection didn’t even make it to the top three or even five key topics of the different parties.
Politicians always talk a lot, but in the end not enough is done. Maybe because there are deals with the economy or because they just love babble with little result. Mostly the first part probably. E.g. Germany just recently managed to negotiate a deal, within the EU, that makes it once again easier for car makers and their engines. Instead of 40% they only have to produce 35% less emissions in the next years. Of course jobs are always a nice bargaining chip for the economy. The list goes on. German coal power is still very strong, because of course they needed something to replace the fission power plants. However much more could have been done in terms of wind energy. Then again who sits in the supervisory board of most energy companies? You guessed it, politicians that moved on.
But it is easy to blame it all on them. When something is finally planned that would help in that respect, there are initiatives against it, because it shouldn‘t happen in front of „my“ door. Well wake up people. Whatever is in front of your door will change. It can either be an ugly ass wind power plant now, or a changing landscape over time. You might not or only in part experience that, but your children will.
As long as we use and rely on things that use energy in some way to make our lives easier, but are not really necessary we will loose that battle.
Leaf blowers are just one ridiculous example… They make a lot of noise and produce emissions compared to a simple rake. And we use them just because it is easier and looks a bit “cleaner” afterwards. Many examples could be added here.
If we keep thinking like that I think we deserve nothing else than our big cities along the coast drowning in the sea.
Some people also think that fusion plants will save Earth. I admit they sound very nice. But I guess until they are working well enough, it is already too late. And even then there are enough companies wanting to make profit in any way. Possibly selling the older, dirty tech to “less advanced countries”. Now we are back to point one. This way the EU might be “clean” one day and maybe even in time. But what about other countries? We won’t save Earth by using clean stuff and thinking clean thoughts within our boundaries but selling the dirty stuff outside of them. Think globally.
On Youtube there are a lot of animations covering all sorts of aspects of the climate change on Earth. Rising sea levels, melting ice bodies, average temperatures. I like one of them, which I’d like to share. It is about temperature, but a few countries have been picked to show it based on those countries. I just discovered that very recently. Before that I was always looking at another one. The link to that is below the new one.
(first one I had was this one)
The change is too slow for many people to think of it as important. In summer, on hot days, more people will complain about the heat. But then they just buy an AC and use even more energy. Only once it is too late and the drowning of Hamburg can’t be stopped any more, once they are faced with the result of it all, will they be willing to do something on their own. But the wheel can’t be turned back as easily as it would have been to stop it in the first place.
I don’t really think it will be a big problem for Earth. Earth experienced quite some hot climates during its existence. Flora and Fauna will also change. It will be a problem for us Humans however. We will have to adapt to the change, and I’m not that sure if we will manage, with all our boundaries included in the game. But there are so many other things tied to this which can’t be imagined now I guess. Who knows, maybe the result will even be an united Earth population like in Star Trek. At the moment it looks like they will be standing on a barren Earth though.
All of that not only counts for emissions of course, but for many other things like plastic. Before the oil and plastic, it was fine to use paper bags. It was fine when other people touched your apples in the store. It’s not like they will be bad afterwards. After all you can always wash them when you get home. Possibly in a decade or two there is so much plastic waste on Earth that it is already part of our food chain like it is for fish already. Who knows if plastic is not the top notch disease then?
I guess it would help a lot to think TWICE.
Think twice before you order “that stuff” ONLINE instead of buying it in a local store. You might not get exactly what you wanted, but you helped the environment & sometimes even your local community.
Think twice before you use the car to drive to the fitness centre to work out. It would be even good for you to actually use your bike to get there.
Think twice before buying even more useless toys that use energy, from companies that want to sell all sorts of crap just to make profit.
The growth, growth, growth principle, above all else won’t work for much longer, if we want to preserve what we have.
3 thoughts on “Earth and Climate”
Hm, thats obviously a topic that divides the people and essays can be written about it. There are just a few things I like to add here:
First of all we need much more awareness throughout the public, the politics, the industries. It is much more likely that climate change is underestimated in the official, political agendas. More and more climate models indicate that the sensitivity of climate to changes in the greenhouse gas concentration is much higher than currently “hoped” (see eg works by Dr Matthew Huber: https://www.eaps.purdue.edu/people/faculty-pages/huber.html). That means instead of 1.5 degrees at the end of the century, more realistically we need to prepare for worldwide implications of an increase by 4-7 degrees, if emissions don’t get reduced QUICKLY. These implications are really, really scary! We are not only talking about loss of cities and habitat all around the coasts, but also of wide areas around the equator that will become almost uninhabitable throughout parts of the year. These areas will be too hot and too humid for a human of standard fitness to work outside without health risks. Production and productivity will drop throughout the tropics and sub-tropics, disease will spread, conflicts will increase, more and more people will be displaced leading to even bigger refugee crises. AND EVERYBODY WILL BE AFFECTED. This is only the impact on the human world, the impact on the natural environment, fauna and flora all over the world will be disastrous. This will not only happen in the Arctic, or somewhere far away in Indonesia. No, it will happen in front of everybody’s door, in front of YOUR door! Birds you loved to listen to will disappear because their nesting grounds on the coast are destroyed. Berries and fruits you liked to collect in the forest will disappear, because the bees that are needed to pollinate are taken be disease. Your garden, your fields, your fruit trees will struggle each year because insects vital for the health of soil and environment are diminished, rain falls less frequently and more catastrophically, toxic substances accumulate in the soils. YOU will feel the consequences of climate change, being in a little village in eastern Germany, in a city in western USA or on a farm in central Australia. Climate change does not stop at the coasts, or the equator.
Second, and even more important than awareness about the consequences, is the awareness that we can change climate change! We can still do it! The world as we know and love it is not yet doomed. For positive results many things need changing, and it is up to EACH OF US to drive these changes. Not the person next door, not the politician, not the industry CEO. The drive has to come from YOU, and YOU, and YOU. WE ARE THE PEOPLE. We are the only ones who can drive change: change what we buy, change what we do, change who we vote for. OUR power will lead the politics and economics. If WE don’t buy the cherries from the US, but wait for our fruit to be in season, the US cherries wont need transporting across the Atlantic. If WE don’t drive our car to work, but use public transport or the bike, the car industry will react. If WE don’t leave our electric devises running over night and are just that bit more conscious about how and if WE use resources and energy, WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE! More and more pressure will be put on industry and politics to implement the big, world-wide changes that are needed.
And finally it is important to know that A LOT is being done by individuals, communities, industries, organisations and even states. And more and more will be done as awareness spreads. Think of those colleagues, who cycle to work each day, those villages, who support their local organic farms. Think of those companies, who develop and build biodegradable bags, recycled batteries or organic fertilisers. Think of all the voluntary organisations that fight for protection of habitat and wild life. And to finalise this list – think of the Scandinavian countries that have not only the highest standard of living, but combine also one of the highest federal supports for environmental and organic programs.
Changing climate change and making the world a better place is a combined effort, including EVERY ONE OF US. It also includes an integration of all aspects of human life – social, health, wealth, security, education, sustainable development. All of that is being addressed and actively worked on by the UN and their many partners and help organisations: Sustainable Development Goals (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/). WE are not alone in our efforts. WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.
Think about that.
Yeap, I agree with you that we can all contribute to that. Unfortunately I also think, that many of us don’t think of it as important, as long as they are not faced with the consequences. We might be able to convince some that climate and environment is actually at least as important as the daily football match and that you should shop for groceries being fully aware about that. However, many people will probably not do it or the change will be too slow.
Politicians and companies could speed all that up because of their more direct influence on the whole distribution pyramid from the top compared to what we do from the bottom.
The change we can invoke at the bottem has to migrate upwards first to be noticed by the people in charge. And then the change also has to be big enough and consistent for them to draw the right conclusions. Otherwise they might just think that it is related to e.g. the type of fruit and not the means if transportation or origin.
Also because of all the profit and growth first, there are always companies taking advantage of certain trends. One of them was e.g. the chia seeds. One year they were marketed as super healthy blablabla. Suddenly all sorts of companies were trying to sell them, and no matter where they came from, many people bought them, because of all the healthy crap, not having in mind that they were imported around the globe. Also the people in the countries where these plants grow, were probably suddenly faced with a significant increase in price for that. For the farmers it was probably nice, but for others not as much. And again the farmers probably sold their harvest to big companies who in term made a much larger profit. I’m sure there are many examples like that.
I don’t really know, but the whole economy around the globe is so fragile and dependent on consumption, that the people in charge will do many things to keep the cash flowing and the stocks rising. Otherwise the whole system would collapse. And to achieve that, the environment does definitely not come first.
There are some good and very good ideas around from some people and also companies, that is true. Many people are also aware of the situation and their numbers are rising. I struggle to see the necessary amount of change happening in time however. It has to happen really really fast now and from what happened in the past 20 years, I just can’t be that optimistic about it any more…
Well there is a chance, that with all those tragic weather events, more and more people will listen and think about the environment. Let’s just hope that many will actually see a link between pollution and climate change, amongst other things. And that they won’t look that much towards their religion to find answers there.
and for the Aussies among us; https://reneweconomy.com.au/
(I am sure there would be similar web pages for Europe, too)