A report on reality

Will we make it to the year 3000?

The Earth is still dying. And it’s still our fault, kind of. Back in 2017, I wrote a column about climate change and the effects it has had on our planet. I talked about the increasing global temperature and rising sea level along our coasts. I spoke with seasoned meteorologist Chris Buttler and we agreed that humans weren’t the sole cause of climate change, but our actions were speeding up the process. Neither Buttler nor I believed it was too late for us to reverse the damage we’ve caused to our planet.

Comic by Jakob Fisher

But that was 2017, when people were still spreading rumors about Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy and La La Land was accidentally announced as the best picture winner at the Oscars. Since then, the United Nations has released a damning report about the fate of our planet if we don’t take steps to cut back on our carbon footprint. The verdict? It may actually be too late for us to clean up the mess that we helped to create.

The biggest takeaway from the United Nations report was that, if we continue on the path we’re on, there’s a “high confidence” that the global temperature increase will reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052. It seems like such a small and insignificant number, but when you delve further into the implications that this increase could have, it becomes a bit more of a pressing issue.

To begin with, it’s going to get hot. I mean, the world isn’t going to burst into flames, but in places like Arizona, where the temperature in the summertime is already fairly extreme, there’s a high probability that it’s going to increase by a few degrees on top of that. This difference in temperature is also causing glaciers to melt at an alarming rate, which raises the sea levels and affects wildlife like polar bears. There’s an increasing risk of drought in certain places and a rise in the chance of heavier rains with tropical storms in coastal areas. Essentially, the scale has been balanced in the middle for quite some time, but now the scale is wobbling between extremes. The goal is for us, the citizens of our planet, to help balance the scale back to the middle before things truly get irreparable.

The main root of all our problems is carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases aren’t an inherently bad thing, they actually help us survive. But when there’s too many carbon emissions up in the atmosphere, that heat can’t escape so it comes back to the Earth and makes us all toasty. Simply put, it’s not sustainable in the long term.

I’m not saying that you have to quit eating beef, sell your diesel truck, and switch to solar power. You don’t have to completely give up your current lifestyle to help save our planet. What I am saying is that doing nothing because you think your impact doesn’t matter is complete ignorance. One person can’t change the world, but imagine if we all banded together and did what we could to try and help? If things continue on the current trend, the Earth won’t die in our lifetime. But what about your grandkids, or my kids, or their kids? What’s going to happen when we’ve damaged the Earth so badly that they do see the death of the planet? Climate change isn’t solely man’s fault, but we have played a hand in it, and it’s our job to do what we can to clean up our mess.