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Stopping an Environmental Dystopia

Updated on December 10, 2016
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Introduction

I was sleeping peacefully when all of a sudden, I awoke to a rough shaking of the bed. I tried to sit but then the bed cracked and split in two, dropping me unceremoniously onto the floor. I tried to stand up but I only stumbled as the whole house trembled and shook itself as if some force was manipulating it to dance to an infernal beat of death. I crawled, grasping the carpet with both hands shaking but when I was almost a hand away from the door, the ground cracked into two. I desperately clung to the soil where my hands first reached for refuge. I gasped as I glanced below me. Lava slowly bubbled and rose above the surface. With the strength that I never knew I had, I climbed up what more resembled a cliff then when my feet finally touched the ground, I ran as fast as I could. I called out to my family and friends, hoping I was not alone. Even so, I continued running until I reached higher ground. Indeed, there were my family and friends but they were all wearing black, looking at all the bodies scattered across the ground below. Animals and humans lay all dead together. As the sun sent unsparing heat that burned our skins, I looked to my back and cried. The lava had risen to the tops of the earth while the water was overcome by the waters more black than the blue that it should have been in real life. I was still screaming myself hoarse, flailing my arms wildly in the attempt to keep living, when I felt sharp pain bloom crisply on my arms. Confused at the sensation of stinging pain, I blinked many times and saw that I was still in my bed, safe and sound. It was only a dream, a nightmare nothing more. But I could not keep the relieved smile on my face because I know very well that it could very well come true.

Environmental Dystopia

I know how an environmental dystopia appears based on what I read in G.R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. The climate of Westeros is more dangerous than the Game of Thrones that the nobles there are so fond of playing. Their climate is a clusterfuck of unimaginable proportions; with the North always frozen while the South almost always experiencing the sun. They have four seasons there but what’s dangerous about these seasons is that they occur in intervals of years. The Starks’ words “Winter is coming” is overused in the story because the place where the story took place currently has a long summer – the longest and hottest summer than what the people there expected and after that comes The Long Winter. The most interesting point of this setting is how George R.R. Martin seemingly wove the issue of climate change into his bestselling narrative 20 years ago until now, almost as if prophesying what would probably happen to the modern world.[1] Granted, Westeros is a medieval setting but the erratic climate changes that describe this place uncannily mirror what is happening today.

An environmental dystopia is an event wherein the Earth has problems that has reached the point of no return. With waters rising to sink islands under the sea and temperatures escalating to scalding levels, our world is already on the path to environmental dystopia. But is there a way to stop this from happening? Is there still a way to save the environment before all beings die in an apocalypse not different from the nightmare I had? These are the questions that National Geographic’s Before the Flood documentary[2] narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. Here they describe a hopeful way out of the helpless situation we humans made our environment into.


[1] History Buffs (2015, September 12). Why game of thrones reads like a history book and not a fantasy epic Retrieved from https://youtu.be/knGeCNaAdAU

[2] National Geographic (2016, October 24). Watch before the flood for free, everywhere | before the flood Retrieved from https://youtu.be/8dxAgt9XXPU

Game of Thrones reads like a history book, even about climate change

The Tragic Effects of Climate Change

Climate change has affected us all, even if some might deny it. The Philippines itself has been devastated by several typhoons, the most devastating of which is the Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.[1] Unfortunately, we suffer so much from what Nature throws its wrath even if technically, we are not the ones who have the greatest culpability over the problem. We and the small island nations in the Pacific contribute the least to the causes of climate change but actually feel the worst of it. Kiribati, for instance, is on the verge of collapse and loss of statehood not because of what they did, but because the actions of other big nations send its fatal consequences to their peaceful island.[2] All nations in the Pacific are very sensitive to the environment because they feel an intimate connection to Nature. “We have so much respect for nature,” says Jiujiua “Angel” Bera, navigator and canoe builder in Korova, Fiji. “Nature starts from the ocean. It’s the ocean that gives life to the land. Never forget that the ocean is always there.”[3]

All over the world, animals slowly become endangered species. The sharks because of shark fin soup, elephants of illegal ivory trade, and all others because of man’s rampant abuse of natural resources. Globalization is also a key criminal in modern mass extinction and environmental decline. Since the Age of Industrialization, we’ve seen a lot of progress in human life due to globalization. More freedom enjoyed by the whole society, more products that conveniently ease one’s lifestyle, more efficient life-saving processes, and so on. But from the perspective of the environment, it wasn’t as good an effect as the aforementioned. We simply took and took natural resources, no matter how unsustainable they are, just to satisfy our needs. More carbon emissions. As a matter of fact, 66 million carbon emissions have been recorded this year by scientists who observed the thinning ozone layer.[4] More resource extractions cannot go on forever but worryingly, the people who control our current economic models of growth do not allow for another alternative.[5]


[1] Lagarde, R. and Romano, L. (2015) The Philippines embraces pope Francis. Available at: http://www.kofc.org/en/columbia/detail/philippines-embraces-pope-francis.html (Accessed: 7 November 2016).

[2] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-11-21/kiribati-climate-change-destroys-pacific-island-nation

[3] Disney (2016a) ‘The Way To Moana’ Featurette - Moana. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBnMBU1DhFU (Accessed: 10 December 2016).

[4] Seeker Daily (2016) Does A tax on pollution actually work? Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CilVymuAM8A (Accessed: 10 December 2016).

[5] CrashCourse (2012) Globalization II - good or bad? Crash course world history #42. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_iwrt7D5OA (Accessed: 10 December 2016).

Polynesians Respect and Love Nature SO MUCH

National Geographic Before the Flood Documentary

Climate Change Deniers vs Environmentalists

Now we need to discuss what we have done about climate change. Aside from our individual actions, we need to look at society as a whole, critically studying the two parties that fight over the solution to the problem. There are the climate change deniers over the environmentalists. Unfortunately for the environment, it is the climate change deniers who have the greater influence over the policies that govern society, not the environmentalists.[1] Most politicians, tragically the new US President-Elect Donald Trump, are climate change deniers because they are in the pockets of companies that use fossil fuels.[2] Even the meat industry has a large hand over the politicians because they are one of the largest industries of the world today and they will be damned before they ever let a legislation prevent them from making more profit over beef production, a whole enterprise that destroys ecosystems and the ozone layer all at once.[3] These climate change deniers don’t care about what happens as long as they get the maximum profit they can squeeze from fossil fuels. They are very utilitarian and self-centered that they deliberately blinded and shut their ears from the clamor of nature itself.

On the other side of the coin, there are environmentalists and indigenous peoples who fight to protect the environment. The most historically significant fight by this party happens in America. Environmentalists and Native American tribes protested against the plan of the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross their final section over Missouri River, just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation.[4]Mni Wiconi”, the Sioux for Water is life, is the never-ending battle cry of the both natives and environmentalists in Dakota. The US Army Corps finally decided in favor of the Native Americans, to find an alternate route for the pipeline.[5] For now, the Missouri River is safe as even if Donald Trump supports the Dakota Access Pipeline, he would have to go to the courts to reverse the decision of the US Army Corps.[6]


[1] National Geographic (2016, October 24). Watch before the flood for free, everywhere | before the flood Retrieved from https://youtu.be/8dxAgt9XXPU

[2] Johnston, I. (2016) Scientists slam Donald Trump’s environment chief over climate denial: ‘It’s like disputing gravity’. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/donald-trump-scott-pruitt-climate-change-denial-environmental-protection-agency-epa-aaas-sierra-club-a7463046.html (Accessed: 10 December 2016).

[3] Seeker Daily (2016b) What are the biggest companies in the world? Available at: https://youtu.be/svEG3kwmuRg.

[4] Vox (2016) The fight over the Dakota access pipeline, explained. Available at: https://youtu.be/qJZ1-LAFOTo.

[5] Healy, J. and Fandos, N. (2016) Protesters gain victory in fight over Dakota access oil pipeline. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/04/us/federal-officials-to-explore-different-route-for-dakota-pipeline.html?_r=0 (Accessed: 10 December 2016).

[6] Ibid.

Fight Against the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline

Renewable Energies for the Win!

Renewable energies are the way to go when you need to save the environment from further corruption. Many countries already employ renewable energies successfully even before the Paris Climate Change Agreement was signed by world leaders last year. Costa Rica and Iceland fully power their entire land through hydropower and geothermal heat and even saved millions of dollars in the process. Albania and Paraguay are 100% based on hydropower energy.[1] China, the so-called “factory of the world” is already empowering its citizens to monitor the environment and is even heavily dependent not on carbon, but on solar energy right now.[2] All these countries have provided us enough examples of how we can transition to an oil-free and carbon-free economy.

The best I can hope about today’s Chinese-Philippine bilateral relations is that the Philippines will be able to apply the renewable energy-based technology that China has, onto its own policies. I’m even glad that both Chinese and Philippine governments agreed to make the Spratlys Islands a protected marine area, especially to preserve the rich marine biodiversity there.[3] I just hope that China, the Philippines and other Asian nations will work together to fully transition to a more environment-friendly economy.


[1] Seeker Daily (2016c) Which countries run on 100% renewable energy? Available at: https://youtu.be/SrmsQzRQPPw.

[2] bontvchina (2014) 80% of china’s energy to be renewable - biz wire - February 21, 2014 - BONTV china. Available at: https://youtu.be/DqO8l5iMiBQ.

[3] Citrinot, L. (2016) Philippines suggests to turn south China Sea Spratlys islands into a marine protected park -. Available at: http://asean.travel/2016/08/12/philippines-suggests-to-turn-south-china-sea-spratlys-islands-into-a-marine-protected-park/ (Accessed: 10 December 2016).

Solar-Powered China

China, the so-called “factory of the world” is already empowering its citizens to monitor the environment and is even heavily dependent not on carbon, but on solar energy right now.
China, the so-called “factory of the world” is already empowering its citizens to monitor the environment and is even heavily dependent not on carbon, but on solar energy right now. | Source

Conclusion

We all have carbon footprints. And we have a responsibility the size they take to the environment. As long as we have the will, we can work together to solve the problem of climate change. There’s no time to waste – Let’s start now! If you’re like me and looking for possible jobs to have after graduating from college, choose to work or volunteer in environmental and wildlife protection institutions such as UNESCO, WWF, National Geographic, etc. Involve yourself in hands-on protection of the environment by working for companies that show enough social responsibility to care for the environment while profiting very well in their businesses. Help dis-incentivize climate change deniers by two ways: a) Live waste-free; and b) Do not vote for them. We can live a waste-free life by shifting to an organic diet, recycling our trash, and using re-usable containers and bags instead of plastics. Most importantly, we should choose our leaders very well. Study their track record, particularly with environmental policies. Vote for those candidates who show that they care about the environment. WE NEED TO ACT NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE, BEFORE WE WAKE UP TO AN ENVIRONMENTAL DYSTOPIA.

Momentous Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2015

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