I find it stunning how rarely people talk about Climate Change. We are all too busy getting on with our lives to think about our impending doom.
Most of us do a few small things to help with the problem; we recycle, we try to remember to turn off the lights, and we donate a small bit of change to various charities. Will that really help though?
The obvious answer is: No.
Of course it won’t help. Even if every factory and power plant on the planet ceased to emit greenhouse gasses, Climate Change would still be inevitable. It’s too late. Yet people still don’t seem to take it very seriously. Environmentalism should be at the forefront of all politics and media, and yet it is constantly sidelined because people just don’t seem to care enough.
Most people believe that Climate Change is real. 97% of scientists agree that Climate Change is happening and caused by humans.
But although people believe that Climate Change is happening, they still don’t accept it. It hasn’t sunk in. They don’t realise the scope of it.
Anybody currently under twenty will not have an enjoyable retirement. For them, old age will be beset by global turmoil and crisis. The unborn next generation will have ghastly lives; population problems and famine will cause political disaster which will inevitably lead to chaos.
When people talk about Climate Change, they only discuss vague details about what will actually happen. We all know that the earth will be hotter, and that sea levels will rise. But that’s about it.
So what will actually happen? Well, the trouble will begin in about 50 years. It won’t be serious, but it will significantly affect people. Coastal towns and cities will have major flooding problems. The changes in weather will have begun to affect crops, and food will be scarcer. Living standards will begin to ever so slightly sink, and in places like Africa and Australia deserts will begin to expand.
None of that sounds too calamitous – but that’s just the start. In about 100 years, things will have slowly been growing more serious. There will be crop failure on a huge scale, as weather and changing climates make food much harder to grow. Food prices will go up and starvation will become more commonplace, even in first world countries. This agricultural decline will cause economic problems for most countries, and the number of people in poverty will increase dramatically. Rationing will probably have been introduced in most countries that are still politically stable. Rising sea levels will be devastating major cities, and people will have begun to migrate inland, realising that their coastal homes are not secure. Homelessness will also see a dramatic increase, and multiple cities will be faced with storms, hurricanes, and tornados. But whilst the increase in global temperature will be melting the ice-caps and rising sea levels, it will also be drying up many sources of water. Multiple places will be facing major draught as water levels dwindle.
So in just 100 years time, poverty, starvation and homelessness will be at a horribly high level. This will be a political disaster – some countries will get off more lightly than others, and international relations will probably be strained. Wars over food and resources will escalate, possibly leading to World War Three and a nuclear disaster.
The bad news is: that’s all inevitable. Even if global emissions fell to zero today, it would still be too late to stop Climate Change. The current situation is irreversible. Everything stated above is a near certainty – so why aren’t we all panicking? Our children are doomed.
And if we continue polluting at our current rate, things will continue to get worse. The worst effects of Climate Change could last for centuries. In 200 years, rising sea levels will have all but destroyed most coastal cities. Florida, San Diego, Venice, and London will all be gone. Due to rising temperatures and desertation, most of North Africa will be uninhabitable. The world’s population will be unsustainable, with nowhere near enough food to go around. I’ve barely touched on effect all this will be having on animals – the planet will be faced with mass extinction.
And in 500 years? Billions of people will have died as a result of Climate Change, and political systems will have collapsed.
We can’t stop Climate Change. Even if we all made a major effort to reduce emissions, our planet would still face crisis. So why aren’t we all panicking? Why does nobody take this seriously?
The worst thing is: we aren’t even making a significant effort to save the planet. We’re continuing to make things worse. If we all pulled together in one major effort, we could prevent some extent of the catastrophe that lies in our future. If we all made major sacrifices now, we could reduce the billions of Climate Change related deaths that lie in the future to just millions.
But we won’t do that – we aren’t prepared to make the necessary sacrifices because although most people believe in Climate Change, they refuse to accept it. Our children are doomed – and nobody cares enough to try and change it.
So let’s all continue to turn off the lights occasionally. Let’s recycle a bit, and donate some spare change. After all, even if that won’t change much, it will morally gratify us enough to keep us going.
The world is screwed – don’t let yourself forget that.
– Lucas Stone
(last edited 21/02/2017)