As I wrote in this blog yesterday, the climate situation on planet Earth is dire. Fires are raging in the Amazon. Fires are raging in Siberia. Fires are raging in Africa. The Greenland ice sheet is melting at an alarming rate. The permafrost in Alaska and other northern regions is melting seventy years sooner than many scientists expected and releasing vast stores of methane, a really bad greenhouse gas. Antarctica is warming and melting at an accelerated rate. Arctic ice cover has been declining and scientists are predicting nearly ice-free Septembers as soon as 2020, causing a catastrophic reduction in plankton that form the basis of the marine food web. The oceans are warming at an alarming rate and they are also becoming increasingly acidic, already killing nearly half of all coral reefs, while fish stocks and top-line predators are being wiped out by over-fishing, pushing marine biologists to predict of a collapse of the ocean food chain soon. Thousand-year weather events are now occurring with horrifying regularity.
It’s already too late to stave off many negative impacts of climate change. But we’re not just talking about warming or more rain or a few cities building sea-walls. The conversation among scientists is now about human extinction versus survival. Our culture is so fragile that it won’t take much to throw us into chaos and anarchy. Imagine if we have a crop failure in California at the same time we have a crop failure in the Midwest. Imagine if we suddenly have a lot less food on the shelves of our supermarkets. People would panic. Who knows how ugly it would get. But this isn’t some crazy fantasy. We just had a close call with crop failure in the Midwest when relentless spring rains prevented many farmers from planting soy and corn crops until it was too late to produce decent yields. If the rains had continued for another two weeks, it could have been catastrophic.
Our nation has made embarrassingly little progress on climate change, mostly due to the Republican party and its fossil fuel owners, facilitated by propaganda outlets like Fox entertainment. When things get really bad, let’s not forget who the climate deniers were.
What can we do now? As individuals, we can make better choices to help the environment. Much of our crop land, and much of the Amazon deforestation, is in the service of animal agriculture. Eating less meat and dairy has a powerful impact on the environment, which is why the largest growth area in the food business is in vegan and vegetarian products–people are starting to see clearly the devastating impact their consumption has on the world around them. We can also continue to demand our elected representatives push us away from fossil fuel based energy systems and boost renewable energy like solar, wind and geothermal. Protesting is a great way to keep the pressure on our culture to change our energy sources, and a big opportunity for protest is coming in September when there will be Climate Strike events around the country that are worth joining. The writer Rebecca Solnit shared on her Facebook page a compelling post from a college student, Rio Constantino:
The situation is obscene. Sometimes it’s enough to knock the breath out of my lungs. Then I give myself a knock on the head. There are more than enough reasons out there to keep acting with purpose and hope.
We know what to do, who to fight, and how to do it. Emissions must stop now, and doing that requires action paired with strategy and rigour. To not just withstand, but thrive through the coming storm, we have to topple the billionaires, and replace the cruel, unsustainable system standing before us with something just and new.
Why am I joining the Climate Strike this September? Because of my great-grandmother. Because of the gift she left for my future son. Because this is my life and I have a right to live it, free from the dictates of a system imposed by a greedy few, who would doom the rest of us for a few more dollars in their pockets.
Those are my reasons – and I bet you have yours, too.
This September 20 to 27, youth around the world will be striking: for our lives, our hopes, our future. Everybody must join. This is the youth’s planet to inherit, and ours to win – and when September comes, I hope to see you there marching with us.
Keep in mind that there will also be a huge “We The People” unity march on September 21st, so stay tuned to see how the climate actions develop in our area. Until then…
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his climate-denying ass out of office.”