Now is the time for ac­tion

Why are there still de­bates about cli­mate change? Why are we not ac­tu­ally al­ready do­ing some­thing con­crete about the most press­ing prob­lem the world is fac­ing?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Opinion - [email protected]­tar.com.my Ja­son God­frey Write to him at [email protected] thes­tar.com.my and check out his stuff at ja­songod­frey.co.

“THE world is at a cross­roads” was a chill­ing state­ment from four for­mer pres­i­dents of the United Na­tions-spon­sored talks on cli­mate change. They went on to state that “de­ci­sive ac­tion in the next two years will be cru­cial”.

With this dire open­ing of the cli­mate talks in Poland, and with the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC) Spe­cial Re­port on Global Warm­ing ear­lier this year stat­ing that we have “12 years” left with life as we know it, I fig­ured some­thing would have started hap­pen­ing by now. I turned on the tele­vi­sion and, lo and be­hold, there was a de­bate on the news about “are we do­ing enough to curb cli­mate change?”

WT ac­tual F.

Sorry about my ag­gres­sive use of acronyms but I’m reach­ing a point of frus­tra­tion that is bor­der­ing on in­san­ity.

For 30 years sci­en­tists have been warn­ing us that cli­mate change is go­ing to ir­re­vo­ca­bly dam­age our world. The world, led by vested in­ter­ests in main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo of de­pen­dence on oil, ig­nored them. Now we’ve lit­er­ally been told our way of life will end in 12 years and still we de­bate what must be done.

Enough. What does it take to make some­thing hap­pen?

How about this?

Orig­i­nal es­ti­mates were that the world tem­per­a­tures could rise 3°C to 5°C by 2100. But now, after four of the hottest years on record, the es­ti­mates have changed to 5.4°C hot­ter by 2070.

The re­cent UN re­port re­vealed that our at­tempts to en­sure car­bon emis­sions peak by 2020 an then be­gin to fall will fail. This tar­get won’t even be reached by 2030. Which means we will con­tinue pump­ing car­bon into the at­mos­phere thus adding more fuel for cli­mate change, which is al­ready spread­ing dis­as­ter.

In­deed, this sum­mer sea­son of for­est fires around the world was ex­ac­er­bated by drier, hot­ter forests. Cli­mate change in ef­fect. This is some­thing we hadn’t fore­seen. Ris­ing sea lev­els is an­other story. Ris­ing sea lev­els could dis­place mil­lions in Mum­bai, Guangzhou, Mi­ami. In­deed the en­tire south­ern part of Florida in the United States could be un­der­wa­ter. Al­ready in So­ma­liland cli­mate change has killed 70% of the coun­try’s live­stock. The drought there has dis­placed thou­sands who now live in refugee camps.

In Su­dan and Kenya, there is a drought that is worse than any other time in the past 2,000 years. In Viet­nam, ris­ing sea lev­els means the Mekong Delta and its fer­tile padi fields are con­tam­i­nated with salt water. More cli­mate refugees.

In Mada­gas­car, the windy sea­son once lasted from Jan­uary to July, but now it is still on in Novem­ber. Which means fish­er­men can’t get their boats out to fish. And, any­way, the seas are over­fished to be­gin with.

We’ve all seen strug­gling po­lar bears. Skinny and scrag­gly, and dis­placed by grow­ing heat in the Arc­tic. They might as well be the face of an­i­mals and na­ture strug­gling to adapt to the chang­ing cli­mate, a cli­mate that is chang­ing much too rapidly for any kind of evo­lu­tion­ary adap­ta­tion.

One sixth of species face ex­tinc­tion in the com­ing cli­mate in­crease. One sixth of the in­hab­i­tants of Earth will die.

Co­ral reefs are ex­tremely frag­ile en­vi­ron­ments that cover 0.1% of the ocean floor but ac­count for 25% of all marine life. A re­cent study of Aus­tralia’s Great Bar­rier Reef and the im­pact of El Nino warm­ings in 2016 and 2017 re­vealed that 30% of the corals were killed in 2016 and 20% in 2017 – 50% of the reef died in two years of warm­ing.

Cli­mate change is not go­ing to hap­pen in 12 years. It’s hap­pen­ing now.

And over­whelm­ing you with doom and gloom is ac­tu­ally some­thing cli­mate change ad­vo­cates say not to do. The idea is that “if you over­whelm peo­ple, there’s ev­i­dence they can end up in some fa­tal­is­tic mind­set and feel un­em­pow­ered”.

I’m bet­ting against that. I’m here to say that when it comes to cli­mate change, it is all doom and gloom. Noth­ing is getting bet­ter with­out us step­ping up. If the end of our world makes you sad, it should also be mak­ing you an­gry. So get an­gry.

Get an­gry at the cor­po­ra­tions who have lied to us for decades to main­tain their bot­tom line. Get mad at politi­cians that turn a blind eye to pro­tect their own in­ter­ests in­stead of pro­tect­ing our world and all of us. De­mand cli­mate ac­tion.

We are sur­vivors. If your life is threat­ened I find it hard to be­lieve that any of us would roll over and let it hap­pen, so I’m not wor­ried about scar­ing you with sad cli­mate change facts. Now you know how se­ri­ous cli­mate change is, and how much it’s ef­fect­ing our world, get out there and do some­thing about it. De­mand change. Ev­ery cli­mate ac­tion counts.

And now is the time for ac­tion. Avid writer Ja­son God­frey – who once was told to give the cam­era a ‘big smile, no teeth’ – has worked in­ter­na­tion­ally for two decades in fash­ion and con­tin­ues to work in dra­mas, doc­u­men­taries, and lifestyle pro­gram­ming.

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