Climate change, global warming, deforestation, mass animal extinction threats, rising seas; these topics have divided scientific and political communities for decades now but in my mind there is no doubt that we are putting more and more pressure on finite resources, habitats and ecosystems. I, like many others try to do my bit to help the "Green Cause" - avidly recycling, saving energy, buying eco brands and conservation volunteering. But is it enough? Are there enough of us doing it? Probably not! Just a mere whiff of the subject of being green is enough to have the majority of people nodding off.....it's just not that interesting.
Back in May 2014, Eric Rignot, a Glaciologist at NASA who was lead author of landmark scientific paper on the plight of the West Antarctic, said we had reached our 'Holy Shit' moment with climate change. Enough observations had been made to conclude that the retreat of West Antarctic sea ice in the Amundson area was now unstoppable and that the collapse of the rest of the area would bring about a sea level rise of between three and five metres. Millions of people and animal species will be displaced worldwide! Yet this story was barely touched upon by the media, it should have been the story of the century, the topic of everyone's conversations, instead it was given very little column space. Why? Well that was the scientist's 'Holy Shit' moment, their wake up call. Just like the UK families whose homes were flooded for most of last winter, the drought ridden farmers in the US - they have had their 'Holy Shit' moments too. The rest of the population not yet affected by extreme weather events are happy to remain blissfully ignorant until they have a wake up call of their own.
The climate crisis is likely to play out over the next couple of centuries and that is where a major obstacle in combatting global warming lies; we live such short lives that it is difficult for us to think for a future we are not personally going to feature in, being green is also not cheap and investment in renewables is costly. People are more concerned about how healthy their retirement funds are going to be in 40 years time rather than how much Arctic sea ice will be left by then. There are so many other factors that stand in the way of humans living in a sustainable manner and some of these are very surprising.
Just recently I was involved in a social media campaign to help stop yet more unnecessary exploitation of wild animals. During the campaign, we were happily tweeting when a somewhat random comment was posted on our feed stating "Hypocrisy! here you are campaigning for animals when innocent babies are murdered in abortion clinics everyday". Separate issues we replied, there was a heated exchange where I stated that I thought that a population of seven billion humans was too much and I ended up being labelled as an "Overpopulation Theory Conspirator". In a nutshell, that person was brought up with a Creationist religion belief of 'God will provide'.....Tell that to millions of children around the globe that go hungry everyday. I'm not easily shocked by anything but that brief encounter led me to re-evaluate how others perceive their place and role in the world around us; I'm logical and a natural sceptic, reserving judgement on a subject until I'm familiar with the facts. I had barely considered that not everyone thinks this way, influenced by people in positions of trust, preachers, politicians and teachers, who ignore science and project their outdated views to gullible people.
So to tackle Global Warming, pollution, habitat loss, animal poaching etc, we need to unite globally, putting aside our hatred of change, love of money and personal religious beliefs. Achievable? Probably not but I'll still be recycling tomorrow. But if you look at what Germany has achieved with their renewable energy you can just maybe have hope for our future even if we do it one country at a time.