05 October 2018    

Part I : Take action on Climate Change

The first part in a 3-part series about why we need to act now, what actions we can take, and how you – yes, you! – can make a difference.

More and more people are being diagnosed with allergies and asthma every day[1]. One third of the world’s major lakes and rivers are drying up[2]. Mega-storms are increasing in size and frequency[3]. Global shortages in coffee, beer, chocolate and grains are imminent. Today alone a dozen plants and animals became extinct – and another dozen will cease to exist tomorrow[4].

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The signs of climate change are all around us and are becoming harder to ignore.[5] And it’s no longer only environmentalists that are taking a stand – from the UN to the American Public Health Association, to The Union of Concerned Scientists and NASA[6] to meteorologists[7].

The question is no longer whether or not climate change is happening, but what we can do about it.

When I attended the Climate Reality Project training in L.A., former American Vice President Al Gore made several statements that have stuck with me. He said that while it’s important for us to change out incandescent light bulbs, it’s more important to change the laws. Unless our governments create policies, regulations and laws to protect our planet, the situation will only continue to worsen. That does not mean we should not change light bulbs, we shall, but we must also raise our voices.

In a series of three articles, I will share a few more insights into what we can do – what youcan do – to make a difference and bring about political change.

Part I: Climate change is not a political issue!

What? You might be asking. After all, I just said we had to change the policies. What I mean is that climate change has become a personal issue. Whether you are rich or poor, democrat or republican, regardless of skin color or your sexual preferences – climate change will affect you. In fact, it probably already has affected you.

Tell me where you live and I’ll tell you what climate change is doing to your community. If you live in Bolivia, Iran or Africa, for instance, you’ve watched your country’s largest lakes dry up.

Or maybe you’ve noticed an increase in toxic algae? Toxic algae blooms caused by pollution are intensifying thanks to longer and hotter summers – killing or poisoning marine life, damaging water resources and harming tourism and fishing industries. You may have noticed this if you live in Florida, Ohio, California, Germany, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Chile, Brazil, Russia, Colombia, Vietnam, China, Canada, Turkey, Indonesia or France.

Have I mentioned your country or region yet? In the United States the number of heavy precipitation events has increased by more than 30 percent since 1900 – and the situation is even worse if you live in coastal communities thanks to the rise in sea level. If you live in the Maldives, for instance, Kiribati or the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it won’t be long before your house is underwater – if it isn’t already.

All of these scenarios assume that you are alive and well, but the World Health Organization estimates that climatic change is the cause of more than 150,000 deaths each year. These deaths are mostly a result of extreme weather conditions, where changes in temperature and rainfall are linked to increases in disease, waterborne illnesses like diarrhea, and infections like malaria. Add this to the fact that some scientists believe that pollution is compromising our immune systems and you have a prescription for even more climate-related deaths in the future.

 

Does this make you depressed?

Don’t be! My point is that we should all be taking climate change to heart. Because when something threatens your food and water sources, your livelihood, your health and your children – it’s time to take matters into your own hands.

Thanks to some bright minds in science and industry, there are actually things we could be doing to halt climate change.

The most important tools for you to use in reversing climate change are your voice, your vote, your choices. Learn about Climate Change and tell what you’ve learnt. Vote for action on Climate Change. Make demands on your local community and decision makers. Make sustainable choices, more vegetarian food, more bike rides, more solar panels, more recycling etc.

Please share your ideas, thoughts and perspectives on how we together can #actonclimate

For a brighter future

/Cecilia


[1] https://www.healthline.com/health-news/children-allergies-and-asthma-on-the-rise-110813

[2] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/03/drying-lakes-climate-change-global-warming-drought/

[3] http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/10/06/1604386113

[4] https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/

[5] https://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/science-and-impacts/science/ten-signs-global-warming-and-climate-change-are-happening#.W6CxzJMzZPt

[6] https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

[7] https://public.wmo.int/en/our-mandate/climate

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