This “Climate Crisis” sounds scary. What is going on?
In the spring of 2019, carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere hit 415ppm. This is the highest it has been for as long as we can collect and analyze data (about 800,000 years). CO2 is one of several important Greenhouse Gasses (GHGs) that occur naturally and help sustain life as we know it on Earth.
Over the last 200 years, human activities (such as burning of fossil fuels and modern agricultural processes) have increased concentrations of GHGs higher than at any time during human existence on the planet. The excess of GHGs traps more heat in the atmosphere and oceans, causing global temperatures to rise. We are already on track to pass 1.5 degrees of warming. Some of the effects of higher temperatures are:
- more frequent heat waves and droughts on the land
- collapse of important fisheries in the oceans
- rising sea levels which will displace millions of people
- migrations or total die-off of species and entire ecosystems
- hurricanes and other extreme weather events will all become more common
Once we hit 2 degrees of warming, things become much, much worse.
The Earth has corrective processes which can maintain global temperatures by pulling GHGs from the oceans and atmosphere but these occur over millions of years. Self-correction will occur regardless whether humans do anything to change the situation, but human societies are not likely to survive those millennia intact. Society as we know it may not even survive the next century if current human activities go unchecked and unmitigated.
Are you scared yet?
Honestly, I hope you are. I hope you are terrified. I know I am. This is huge.
Humans created this crisis through our activities. Without a human-made solution to reduce the overall GHGs in the atmosphere, global temperatures will rise as more heat is trapped in the air and oceans, further disrupting the weather, climate, and ecosystems. These changes will be catastrophic to the lives of everyone on the planet although the poorest countries will be impacted first and hardest.
It’s maddening and saddening and overwhelming.
…But I want to tell you that there is HOPE. We know what the problems are, we know how to fix them (or at least have the ability to figure it out), and in many cases there are people working on these issues right now.
We need to take ACTION together, both by changing personal habits and demanding global action for implementing large-scale solutions.
What this blog is about
Here is what I want to provide to you:
- Climate: A basic understanding of some of those most pressing climate issues including some underlying ideas and science so you can better understand what we are up against.
- Hope: In all aspects of the Climate Crisis, there are examples of people and organizations who are already designing and implementing solutions needed to turn this around. All is not lost!
- Action: There are things you can do, big and small, to contribute to the solutions. We need you!