The looming danger of climate change
By: Tea Polgar
It would be foolish to pretend not to notice that something is happening to the world around us: sea levels rising, glaciers are melting and weather conditions are changing. These are all signs that our planet has a virus, a fever that seems to be getting only worse with the passage of the years: the scepticals still don’t want to admit that our home is dying because of us.
In 2015 all the United Nations States members adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a list of goals to achieve before 2030 which provides us with guidelines to follow in order to make the world a better place. This list include themes like ending poverty, hunger and provide better education to people all over the world. One the goals is Climate Change Action.
No country can say that it has not been affected by consequences of global warming: data shows that greenhouse emissions have been doubling since 1990, and the changes caused to the climate system are doomed to be irreversible if no measures are taken right now.
But global warming is not only affecting the climate, it’s affecting everyone on the planet too. 91% of natural disaster are climate related and caused the death of over 1.3 million people and the injury of 4.4 billion in the span of ten years.
The effects of gases like carbon dioxide have been known since the 19thcentury. These gases have the ability to transfer infrared energy through the atmosphere, making it so that the earth warms up as in response to the levels of these particles. Most of the emissions were released in the last 35 years and since the end of the nineteenth century the global temperature has risen of approximately 0.9°C. Since 2010 we have witnessed the hottest years the planet has ever seen: 2016 was the warmest year ever recorded.
NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment have shown that Greenland has lost around 286 billions of tons of ice between 1993 and 2016. Glaciers around the whole world are melting and retreating, while the global sea level still rises.
The majority of climate experts and scientists agree that the main cause of the observable trend in global warming is due to the ‘greenhouse effect’. This warming is resulting from the trapping of gases in the atmosphere which make it impossible for the heath to escape it. The gases (the most known are water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane) have a long-life cycle that allows them to stay in the atmosphere semi-permanently, forcing climate change and global warming.
We can say without any doubt that human activities had and are influencing the natural green house: the burning of fossil fuels made the concentration of CO2 increase rapidly. This effect is given by the burning process of the fuels, which combines the gases with oxygen, creating carbon oxide.
It’s impossible to say for sure how global warming and climate change are going to affect the planet, but some effects seem certain.
Scientist have been warning governments for decades about the dangers of global warming and the use of fossil fuels on the climate. However, it seems that only now decisions to improve the situation and save the future of the planet have started to be taken. In September 2019 the Climate Action Summit will take place, a convention called in order to put climate change action on top of the international agenda.
The Summit will explore the causes and the possible solutions to the problem: it will be taken into consideration which sectors of the industry are contributing the most to the emissions issue. It will also show that the leaders of the world are finally taking account and action to battle for the future of Earth and the human race itself.
For years people all over the world have been begging their government to take responsibility and intervene, but everyone seemed deaf to the cries of younger generations desperately begging for a future.
The movement #FridaysForFuture was born on August 2018 by the hands of Greta Thunberg. The 15 years old girl from Sweden stared protesting against the lack of action on the climate crisis by skipping school every day for three weeks to sit in front to the Swedish parliament. The inspiring action that Greta took influenced millions of young people all over the world.
1.6 million people got together on March 15, 2019 to protest in a strike that took place in seven continents simultaneously, 125 countries and over 2000 cities all over the world.
On the wake of Greta Thunberg, millions of people have been inspired to protest and fight for action against climate change: one of the prominent figures between the activists of the movement is Jackson Harries.
Harries, born in 1993, is a YouTuber turned into documentary photographer, film maker and climate change activist. In 2011 he started his career on a Youtube channel in collaboration with his brother Finn, channel which in a matter of a few years got nearly 4 million subscribers. Growing older and starting to get interested in documentary making, Jackson then opened a blog focused on raising awareness on climate change, photography, mental health and migration. Graduated from UCL in Ethnography and Documentary filmmaking, he pursued his career as filmmaker, covering stories in various countries, two of them being Greenland and Somaliland.
Check out his blog here: http://jacksonharries.com
The young activist was arrested, among other 14 people, on February 27, 2019 for taking part in the non-violent protest at the International Petroleum Week. The convention gathers giants of the oil and gas sector with the goal to discuss together the future of the industry. He is part of the activist group Extinction Rebellion.
Interviewed by the BBC, Harries said: «As a young person growing up in London, I feel scared for the state of my future [and] overwhelmed by the news about climate change, and I feel like our government is simply ignoring the problem».
Using his platforms to share his ideals and promote change, the film maker is trying to put his efforts in what he believes, even if that means being arrested: «[being interviewed on tv ]I feel that it’s my duty as a young person to make our voices heard and to force our governments to listen because, ultimately, it’s our future that’s at stake».
Climate change, global warming, greenhouse effect are all different terms to state the same thing: we all have to do something to protect our climate, our planet and our future. There is no time like now because we ran out of it. Take responsibility, contribute in your everyday life: there is no action that is as small as doing nothing.