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Earth month series 〰 Climate Change

I wish there was no need to write this series, I wish there was no need to write about climate change, saving the earth or using earth-friendly products. I wish they would just be normal, healthy products we all use. And I wish we could talk about coffee and dogs instead. But unfortunately, that is not the world we live in right now. Unfortunately, the money makes this world go around and companies are willing to risk our future for the sake of profit. 

22. of April 2019 is Earth day and I will (do my best) to create a series of post for you, all about climate change, low impact living, sustainability, activism, plastic-free options, fair fashion…. that will help you find eco-friendly, healthier and cheaper alternatives.

And today I would just like to give you a few facts about climate change that will hopefully inspire you to make some changes. 

CLIMATE CHANGE 101

 It was Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist that was the first to claim in 1896 that fossil fuel combustion may eventually result in enhanced global warming. 1896!

In 1958, Director Frank Capra made a movie for Bell Labs “Unchained Goddess” to explain the expected effects of ‘Global Warming’.

In 1988 when James Hansen {then director of NASA’s Institute for Space Studies} warned Congress about climate change. At the time, the world was experiencing its warmest five-month run since we started recording temperatures 130 years earlier.

Hansen said, “It is time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here.”

Fast forward 28 years and, we know much more about climate change science. Hansen is still worried that the rest of us aren’t worried enough.


Terrifying fact is also that the world’s richest 10% produce half of the global carbon emissions. “Rich, high emitters should be held accountable for their emissions, no matter where they live,” Oxfam climate policy head Tim Gore

 And just 100 companies (oil, coal,..) have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. But they love to blame us consumers for pollution.

Please take a moment to listen to Greta Thunberg´s speech from this year’s UN Climate Change COP24 Conference.

It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.

 WHY SHOULD WE CARE?

The report issued in October by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030, precipitating the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people.
The date, which falls well within the lifetime of many people alive today, is based on current levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
The planet is already two-thirds of the way there, with global temperatures having warmed about 1 degree C. Avoiding going even higher will require significant action in the next few years.

The simple fact is that global temperature rise throws natural systems out of balance. 

  • Rainstorms, severe droughts, powerful tropical cyclones, extreme heat waves.
  • Rising sea levels.
  • Displacement of nearly half of the world’s population.
  • Flooding coastal areas literally swallowing entire islands.
  • Populations of animals dying out.

The climate crisis has real and dangerous impacts on public health as well. This is especially true for the most vulnerable – children, the elderly, and the poor – who are at the most risk from heat stress, air pollution, and extreme weather events. (Climate Reality Project)

BE THE CHANGE

I will state this on the beginning of every post because it is something we have to always take into consideration. And that is the privilege of a choice. There are a lot of people with disabilities, people living on a very tight budget, people with allergies, people in extremely poor communities or developing countries (where most of our waste ends up) that pay the cost of pollution,  busy working parents that do not have time to make these changes. There are people that do not have the choice we might have. I am speaking from the position of a privileged, white, European woman, living in safe Austrian mountains, with budget and options big enough to be able to choose. Choosing to spend less and have less is different than being required to live on less.

The bigger your carbon footprint is, the bigger your moral duty, the bigger your platform, the bigger your responsibility. 

So even if our small changes seem insignificant, they do matter. Small changes can also have a snowball effect and create change on a larger scale. No matter how green an individual is, if we don’t act together, as a community, as a state, as a nation and even as human beings, we have no chance to save the world. But not only that, eco choices matter for your and other peoples (and animals) health. That is why we need to pressure the companies and system to change. But also do the best we can, to be conscious consumers. 

I want us all to look around our homes and lives together, look at the products we buy, companies, banks we support with our money. Together we can make some small and big changes. 

Learn more about this topic:

You can not do all the good the worlds needs, but the world needs all the good that you can do.

Thank you,

Mateja

 

+ cover photo by Sylvie Tittel

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