While the past 18 months have been mostly about the pandemic and its mounting consequences, we’ve also been presented with significantly disturbing climate crises. This might just be the beginning of a larger climate catastrophe which awaits.
The destruction we’ve helped create has left an evident amount of death, and the toll will increase in the future if we do not act now. How do we escape it? Who is going to save us? We know the answer but still are somewhat ignorant towards it.
We have witnessed one of the largest seasons of wildfires, floods, and heat waves induced by global warming. It’s a known fact that the situation will get worse in the future unless we start making a change and work on fostering the ideas of reducing fossil fuels and preserving the natural environment before there is nothing for us to save. The floods in Germany and China have resulted in an alarming rate of deaths. Siberia, Turkey, and Greece are still recovering from the nightmare of the wildfires burning hundreds of houses and killing hundreds of people.
The current climate crisis feels like a ticking time bomb ready to destroy our earth. The research, conducted by Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change (IPCC), presents fresh estimates of the likelihood of exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming in the coming decades, concluding that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees or even 2 degrees Celsius will be impossible to achieve unless fast, quick, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions occur. It is well-known that carbon dioxide is a major culprit behind global warming, and it will take decades of effort to recover from the destruction brought by the increasing demand to fulfill human needs. Per the Paris Agreement, land use change was responsible for annual global emissions of 4.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide on average between 2007 and 2016, accounting for roughly 12% of CO2 emissions. Natural climate solutions could offer more than a third of the cost-effective climate mitigation needed between now and 2030 to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
While humans might be the last species that are highly affected by climate change, many species in our ecosystem have been in immense danger. Per a 2015 article published by the U.S. Department of Interior, nine species that have been highly affected by climate change are: moose, polar bears, sea turtles, salmon, snowshoe hares, American pikes, puffins, Alaskan caribou, and piping plovers. In addition, coral reefs have been a victim of human activities. Coral reefs defend coasts from storms and erosion, create jobs in nearby communities, and provide us with a free playground. They are also a source of new medications and food. Reefs provide food, money, and protection to about half a billion people as well as contribute to 70% of the oxygen that we breathe that comes from our world’s oceans.
So much research is pointing towards a dreadful future if we continue this current trajectory. We are already lagging in our efforts to save our earth, and if we wait even a little bit longer, we might not be able to save some of our most precious resources. Almost eight billion people and one planet to save. When do we start?