This article has to be one of the hardest I’ve had to write.
I’ve lost count of how many drafts I attempted.
Since the 80’s people have been prophesying global warming and the apocalypse brought upon us by our own actions.
It’s been going on so long, a lot of people have climate exhaustion.
My own mother still believes that, because she had scientists selling this idea throughout her whole life that this is just more of the same.
So why the build up in a panic?
Why the sudden emergency?
Is it because we have a changing political climate and therefore this is another hot button topic for everyone?
But maybe we need to listen to both sides.
Maybe we don’t.
Maybe instead we look into the motives of those from each side.
Those who say it’s a hoax ten to have a vested interest in the industries that profit off of industrialised sources of energy.
We are those people.
We profit off of those industries.
Every time you turn on your phone, tv, laptop, light switches, shower, sink tap, flush your toilet or drive your car.
Even when you drink out of your water bottle, put makeup on, type on your keyboard, scroll your newsfeed, eat dinner, have that side of fries.
This is because everything we have that we as a species have created. All of it is done so with fossil fuels and greenhouse gasses.
Yes including your cheeseburger, we industrialised our farming and control breeding habits of the livestock we eat.
We have more chickens on the globe than humans. By more than double.
We have over 19 billion chickens on the planet and only 7.2 billion humans.
If future humans were to excavate and categorise this era in history, it would be fair to assume we were run by chickens.
Our actions have in turn altered the way the earth works. This, in turn, affects how each species survives.
What is the cause of climate change?
In short, the greenhouse effect.
This is a waste product of using and burning fossil fuels to make all the awesome stuff we have.
Our atmosphere already has C02 within our blanket of gasses that make our cosmic bubble liveable. We need C02 in our atmosphere to absorb the heat coming from the core of the planet and make the surface a warm enough place to live.
Since 1950, the amount of C02 in our atmosphere has gone up from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million.
In a nutshell, if you have 1 million molecules of gas, 280 of them would be the C02.
Even if you don’t understand climate scientist, you can tell that 400 is way bigger than 280, especially when you learn that it’s been 280 parts per molecule up until we started using fossil fuels. Period.
By pumping out the excess C02 into our atmosphere makes it a hot place to live. Like a greenhouse.
We know it’s not the sun doing the warming because we’ve been measuring the sun’s irradiance for ages. So while the sun’s effects on our planet have been relatively stable, our earth has been getting hotter.
What’s the big fucking deal if it gets hotter?
Evolution and species loss
Another point I’ve heard a lot is that if evolution theory is correct then we would adapt to climate change like we have in the past.
I wish that were true.
The speed at which the earth is getting hotter is way too fast to adapt to. We’ve just lost our first mammal to climate change in the world.
It happened to be in my home country Australia.
Its habitat was covered in rising sea levels.
Here’s a fun little graphic I picked up from Iberdrola and their article on the sixth extinction.
So we warm the planet up, destroy 8% of the species on it, so what?
Ok if we lose species of insects like ants, the animals who eat ants that we eat will die out and we lose food sources.
We also lose a butt load of plants that ants protect and help germinate.
So that’s our shelter and atmosphere screwed up as well as our food sources.
So even the tiny insects are important to our survival. Who knew.
Extreme global weather events
Growing up in Sydney the only extreme weather I experienced were heatwaves and bushfires.
The bushfires that swept through my surrounding suburbs when I was 4, 7, 11, 13, 16, 16, 16, 16, 17, 23, 23, 27, 27 and 28.
This was my threat of extreme weather events. And they were scary but at the same time they were part of life. Now flooding has increased in areas we’ve never seen before in our cities and the bushfires are spreading more and lasting longer while being more and more unpredictable.
While not every weather event is due to climate change, the increase in events overall and their severity is directly linked to it.
Just this week the country of Mozambique was hit by a second cyclones. Six weeks after the last one swept through.
Cyclones being these giant engines of power use warm moist air as fuel and love warm and damp air systems. This is why they are forming over tropical areas near the equator.
This is a drastic change however as with warmer ocean temperatures, more water is being evaporated, meaning this warmed water and air are more prevalent thus making cyclones more likely to form.
The number of inhabited places on earth, by humans and animals, are going to be underwater within your lifetime.
Towns in Louisiana are being relocated entirely because of rising sea levels.
Pacific island nations with people and cultures and animals are being covered in the ever-expanding, warming oceans.
The island of Manhattan has projects ready to build to create sea walls to prevent it from being enveloped. These projects are yet to be funded.
This leads me to:
The last main point here I want to make is the cost of climate change.
If we really get all of our things through the use of fossil fuels, we would have to give it all up and be hippies!
Fossil fuels are one way of getting the energy to make these things, even if these things are also bad for the environment.
Remember we aren’t talking about plastics right now just the use of energy overall and it’s effect on the planet and our species.
Plastics are a by-product of that industry and not the cause of it.
So to counter this idea of throwing everything to the side and donning the smelly hippie life, we only need to use a different source of energy.
Let’s weight this up economically. Keep in mind that pricing would be different in each part of the world but this is how my life will change.
For solar energy, in almost all cases the monthly costs reduced by more than 50%. The 20-year savings reach up into the $30k mark. So Solar is a good way to go. It also has a negative pollution production meaning it doesn’t pollute while you get energy. And hey the sun isn’t going to burn out any time soon, in fact, we already get too much of it sometimes.
If you are in the US, it’s estimated that a switch to total renewable energy would save each person $240 a year. That’s almost $9.4 billion a year in the US alone.
Ok but how about jobs? Australia is a huge mining country. Our economy basically can’t survive without coal mining.
Here’s a sexy little graph about where jobs in the fossil fuel industry sit in relation to other jobs in the US.
Here’s one for Queensland, Australia. This is my state and one that has a lot to do with mining.
How about the amount of energy production in Brazil?
Now, what about renewable sources?
What about rural USA?
I bet you can tell I really like graphs.
The total cost?
Australia is looking at over $226 billion in infrastructure damage due to rising sea level damage.
The US is looking at $62.5 billion a year due to wildfire damage.
In 2012 the drought in Russia totalled $9 billion of lost harvest.
The current Egyptian projects to protect agriculture, drought relief, flooding and the disappearance of coastal systems will only cost $31.4 million.
In less than 30 years, anything that is 2 metres above sea level now, will be underwater.
This includes major economic hubs of trade like Shanghai, China; Osaka, Japan; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Miami, USA and many others.
So what really is the cost?
Billions of people migrating for resources such as food and energy, both will be scarce after extreme weather events cut people off of these resources.
If this happens, the most likely scenario is that a dictatorship will arise and covet the resources that do exist, just like we’ve seen in almost every major conflict in the history of mankind. Heck, just Google Yemen’s famine.
If it’s that bad, why bother?
There’s still some of that around.
Never in the history of mankind have we have young people who can’t even vote, taking action to change political policy for the betterment of the globe.
There are projects all over the world aiming to stem these effects.
People are coming together to plant trees that have been lost through deforestation, which also builds up emissions as they decompose and take away our filtration source.
Politicians are taking actions.
More jobs are being created.
And on the personal level, if every single person did only a few things lie, avoiding use of plastics or palm oil products, reducing water waste, voting only for fair trade advocate and climate-friendly politicians who will make the right choices for their people, reducing your footprint through travel, energy and consumption.
If an average family skipped just one day of meat and cheese, just the one day, it’s equivalent of not driving your car for 5 weeks.
Not to say veganism is the answer either.
It’s not. Sorry not sorry.
The vegan alternatives are not much better. Looking at you soy farms.
But buying and eating sustainably, supporting your community with local farm products will reduce the overall cost and improve the quality.
These things will make the biggest impact as we have only survived as a species because of our social bonds. If come together as a collective like we did about the O-zone, we will survive and we will fix the climate crisis.
So yes, it’s real.
No, sorry, it’s not a hoax.
We really are on the brink of a point of no return. While we may have ten years to change our ways, we don’t have all of those ten years. As the global temperatures rise, we will see worsening effects every day.
So the sooner we act the better.
The better economically, the initial cost are significantly dwarfed under the money we will spend fixing a demolished world.
The better socially with more global cooperation and new technologies that will bring you all the luxuries we like without killing off our species.
The better biodiversity. We can stop the increase in severity and occurrence of extreme weather events, that impact our species and societies economically and socially.
I wish it was a hoax. It would be better to be irritated at fake news than to stare into the face of the sixth extinction but this is our future.
Our future and the future of our species and the networks that provide us with a liveable planet.
If you still don’t believe, maybe listen to a scientist like David Attenborough or Jane Goodall who have spent their whole lives analysing the data.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear more regarding the disbelief of climate change and what the reasons are.
Leave your opinions in the comments and anyone who doesn’t respect each other will be blocked whichever side you’re coming from.
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