I’ve done my best not to confront the subject of climate change, for the simple reason that there is so little to be hopeful about. After reading Life On A Shrinking Planet by Bill McKibben however the levees broke once and for all and compelled me to share my two cents.
I was visited by a familiar feeling of deep dread reading the article, reminding me that I’d been hearing the same old song since High School geography studies. It brought back my dystopian fears of the future. Of my grand-kids being intently curious about lost island relics like the Maldives and former urban playgrounds like Miami. Victims swallowed by the hungry sea.
Whether you believe in the science behind climate change, it’s hard to dispute the exponential rise in natural disasters afflicting the world on a weekly basis. Droughts in Africa, wildfires in California, earthquakes in the Indonesian isles. Not to mention the fact that every new summer brings with it record setting temperatures.
"The early signs are clear: São Paulo came within days of running out of water last year, as did Cape Town this spring. In the fall, a record drought in Germany lowered the level of the Elbe to below twenty inches and reduced the corn harvest by forty per cent."
McKibben describes a trip to Greenland in August to track the progress of an enormous ice shelf that was discovered five years ago. Formerly nicknamed the Eagle, the glacier was now no more than a shadow of its former self. “The head and the wings of the bird have melted away. I don’t know what we should call it now, but the eagle is dead.”
With the UN Climate Change Summit in Poland this week, the organization is once again doing its darnedest to try and turn the tide before it’s too late. The problem remains that any ratified measures will require the support of world leaders who make decisions based on election cycles and corporations who live to maximize quarterly returns.
I get it. No one likes giving up the things that are rightfully theirs but think about the things you can do to personally make a difference. I’m a recent convert to OMD, Suzy Amis Cameron’s plan to substitute one meal a day with a plant-based option. Simple choices like this have the potential to drastically reduce our dependence on finite resources and do our small part in reducing carbon emissions.
If we don’t start sacrificing now there won’t be very much left to cherish in years to come.