Last month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its most recent assessment of the impacts and costs from 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) of global warming. The report warns that, left unchecked, climate change poses risks that exceed even what was previously feared. Solutions need to be adopted within the next 30 years to avoid the greatest impacts.
To help our readers understand climate change, let’s take a step back and review the basics. Our next posts will be republished from our friends at Crowdsourcing Sustainability.
Climate change is an enormous problem that we must solve. The first step to solving a problem is understanding it. Although lengthy, the information in this series of posts needs to be known by as many people as possible because:
1. It will help people to better navigate our future world – for both themselves and their loved ones.
2. We need to have a lot of informed and empowered people in order to overcome climate change. When enough people really understand what’s happening, what’s at stake, and how to affect positive change, the necessary changes to ensure a brighter future will naturally follow.
There’s an overwhelming amount of information out there on climate change. What follows is what you need to know, all in one place, nice and easy.
The 5 things to know about climate change.
- Climate change is happening NOW.
- We do not have climate change under control. A sense of urgency is needed to fix it!
- Climate change is unquestionably a PEOPLE issue. It is the biggest threat humanity faces today.
- Climate change WILL AFFECT YOU.
And perhaps most importantly,
5. We are the cause and, therefore, WE MUST BE THE SOLUTION to climate change.
Each of these critical points is explored in detail for this six-part series, after a quick overview.
Climate change is the biggest and most urgent threat humanity is facing today. It is the type of threat that is generation-defining. Climate change will force each of us to acknowledge and deal with it in the coming years because of how disruptive and pervasive it will become in the global economy and our everyday lives. As climate expert and author Joe Romm puts it, “Everyone needs to be educated on climate change because climate change and our response to it is going to change the world over the next 25 years as much as the internet did in the last 25 years.”
Climate experts say continuing on our current path would be “catastrophic” for humanity.
According to Elon Musk, climate change could lead to “more displacement and destruction than all the wars in history combined.”
But could these claims possibly be true? They seem like they’re at least a bit exaggerated…right?
After reading this series you’ll be better able to come to your own informed opinion on that. But trust me, the more you know about climate change, the more you’ll begin to understand how such provocative statements can be made, defended, and why many of the smartest people in the world have come to similar conclusions. We could debate whether or not these provocative statements will come true (I haven’t even made up my own mind on all of them yet), but doing so would miss the point. The fact that the threat of climate change is even in the ballpark of that magnitude, which it most certainly is, should be enough to arouse anyone’s curiosity so that they can start to understand what this new world will look like – if for no other reason than to see what opportunities and risks it presents to them.
But, you’d never guess that there even is an imminent threat judging by our conversations and day to day actions. The lack of attention climate change gets is baffling. Up to two billion people don’t even know about climate change. Of those that do know about it, some don’t believe it and most of the rest of us hardly talk about it. The news rarely mentions climate change even as they cover the natural disasters it encourages and intensifies. What is going on here? As Ezra Klein wondered in 2010, “Can we solve global warming without talking about global warming?”
Why climate change isn’t talked about
- We haven’t completely wrapped our heads around what we are doing and what the consequences are.
- There’s a “spiral of silence” around climate change. We generally avoid talking about climate change because it’s unpleasant, uncomfortable, scary, and overwhelming…quick let’s move on!
- Climate change seems far off, distant. We don’t think it’ll impact us (even if we do think it will affect others).
- We feel helpless to do anything about it.
These are all understandable, although reasons 3 and 4 are inaccurate.
If someone doesn’t understand what climate change is all about or how it will impact their life, especially in the near term, chances are they aren’t going to think about it. That’s human nature. There’s a general feeling for most individuals that it’s not a problem or “not my problem.” Our leaders, corporations, and media have not effectively communicated to the broader public that climate change is a major problem and that it will affect everyone. This has been a disservice to humanity. Our lack of understanding reflects the state of our profit-driven media and the power of fossil fuel incumbents to not only control politicians but to confuse the public with disinformation campaigns. In fact, the extent to which the threat and urgency of climate change has been downplayed is not only disgraceful but dangerous. It has allowed the problem to get worse and delayed society’s collective and powerful response to the problem – a response that is inevitable once the reality of our situation is widely understood and accepted.
Crowdsourcing Sustainability, founded by Ryan Hagen, is a community of people from around the world united by the need for climate action. Whether you want to learn about climate change and sustainability, share your knowledge and stories with others, get inspired, or connect with people who share your vision of a better world, get started by connecting with Crowdsourcing Sustainability.