Earth doesn’t care if it warms. We care because we don’t like change. A change in weather and water patterns will shift farming and food production. Agriculture will adjust, and we’ll all pay for that in the grocery store. In poorer countries, changes may lead to mass migration and civil conflict where resources are scarce. Shifting climate zones will change the range of wildlife, pests and insect-borne diseases.
Our physical world is highly interconnected. Coronavirus is a hard lesson in interconnectedness.
I don’t have a slam-dunk answer as to what to do about climate change, but I do have suggestions. We can’t flip a switch to stop what is already in motion. Some of the ideas I’ve heard about sending things into space to reflect sunlight sound like the beginning of a horror movie. Which countries would have the legal and moral authority to do something like that to the Earth? Who would pay for it? What if it were to go wrong?
Recent climate change is like having joint issues develop because of your dedication to an extreme sport as a young person. Joint problems do happen naturally, but lifestyle can be a contributing factor. You’re then faced with having to adapt to living with your condition or seeking a magic pill or procedure to fix it. There are no magic pills or procedures that come without side effects, cost and consequences.
Is it hopeless? No. You have the power to live with the Earth. Adapt, conserve, reuse and recycle. In all of your purchase decisions ask yourself if it’s good for the planet or if it requires large amounts of energy from fossil fuels to create and maintain.
We learned in the 1980s man-made chemicals, like the propellants in spray cans, were destroying beneficial ozone in the stratosphere. Countries acted to ban those chemicals and data shows the ozone levels are recovering. We have power.
Think of the billions of creatures around the globe that do not compete with each other to acquire and hold stuff. They limit their footprints. Birds build nests of organic material (with scraps of non-biodegradable waste from our lives). Bees take pollen from plants, but in the process, they help the plants to propagate. When dogs poop, they try to bury it (except for some of the dogs that walk past my house).
Adapt to climate change, as individuals and countries. Limit contribution to future change by conserving energy. That puts less fossil fuel in the pipeline — literally. Reuse, repair, donate and share stuff to give it second and third lives, demanding less energy usage for further production. Recycle, to also reduce energy production and limit the need for more raw materials. Don’t waste food.
Consumer demand drives production and transportation, which remain very dependent on fossil fuels. There are alternative and greener energy sources but developing and implementing them has a cost and a carbon footprint. I don’t have the expertise to say which is best or most efficient. Support businesses that limit planet-warming practices. Through your choices and actions, you have the power to make positive change.
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