A World in Crisis
A fleeting life
I am 35 years old. Thirty-five years is not much. Apple existed for 8 years and already released 23 unique products by the time I was born. When looking at myself in the mirror and seeing the first whitish hairs poking out, this put things in perspective. Our life is fleeting but so is our planet’s.
In those 35 years of existence, I have so far witnessed events that were quite disturbing and worrying. Rising sea levels, powerful and more frequent hurricanes, extreme droughts, flooding, rising temperature, melting of ice caps, environmental catastrophes, and so much more happening. It might be my search habits, interests, google algorithms, clickbait or sensationalist reporting, but there is literally not one day going by without some kind of dire article or news on climate change.
Truth be told, when I was younger, without kids and not married, I did not care as much as I do now. When looking at my two little boys, I just want a better world them. This is where all of those issues affecting our dear planet become more plain and alarming. When leaving this earth of ours, I just want to be dead sure–no pun intended–that my kids will live a proper life and procreate happily. I am a natural optimist but on climate change I see the glass half empty. I am amongst the ones believing that we passed the famous point of no return and that there is not much left to and try to fix things up. Even if we are not there yet, society is built in such a way that changing the common mindset means a drastic shift in the way we live our lives.
We are unfortunately far from this.
Capitalism and consumerism are preventing us from moving forward and induce this shift. We all run around trying to catch the next dollar, subscribe to the next service, buy the next car or plan the next holiday. Running on this hamster wheel has a cost to our earth and doing it so collectively is a mass movement so rigid or unalterable that there might be no way out.
Leading by example
Some time ago while browsing my news feed, I noticed an article covering an event that Google was organizing: a three-day summit on the climate crisis where they invited a lot of A-listed celebs to discuss, what we hope, real change. Barrack Obama, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Prince Harry, Leonardo DiCaprio are just a few names of the many staying there. They came from around the world in 114 private jets, several mega-yachts such as Barry Diller who came on a yacht equipped with a 2,300 diesel horse powered engine. They were also entertained by driving SUVs and sports cars around the place. Need to keep those people happy I guess.
Quite ironic is it not? This is exactly where the problem actually is.
Compared to this silly situation, Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old activist, instead vouched to sail on a zero-emissions yacht to the UN climate summit, the COP25 in December 2019. Some might think this as being a bit over the top, but she actually is making a point and this is what we need.
We need to challenge the system and doing it unconventionally so to catch people interests and make them talk. This is what “being committed” means and this is a powerful statement. The contrast between the Google summit and this act of defiance is staggering.
On one side you have a mass of self-indulged rich people trying to convince the world they care and on the other, a teenage girl moving from words to action. She is walking the talk. It is a fact some of those celebrities are supporting the cause by spreading awareness, such as Leonardo Dicaprio’s documentaries and his UN speeches (hat’s off to him for being so involved) but looking at what is happening behind the curtain, everything becomes contradictory. They should lead by example and this is definitely not the case.
Since the beginning of this 2019 summer, I literally read every couple of days that we broke some new record. Europe is sizzling to a point never seen before. Greenland is melting faster than ever with historically high temperature of 22C recorded for summer 2019. At the beginning of August 2019, they recorded a loss of 11 Gigatonnes of mass in 24 hours representing 10 billion tonnes of ice that melted away into the ocean. A Gigatonne of melted ice is the equivalent of 100,000 Olympic sized swimming pool or a billion tones of water. In the month of July 2019 alone it totaled to 197 Gigatonnes. Those are staggering and worrying figures.
The below picture is actually quite shocking and it was taken on June 2019 by Steffen Olsen, a scientist working with the Danish Meteorological Institute.
At this time of the year, there should be only ice and this was never seen before. The melt is to a point that there is no ice visible but only a shallow lake on top of the ice sheet as far as the eye can see. This picture is eerierily out of this world and speaks volumes. Those poor dogs seem so out of place!
At the same time temperature, drought, and storms are causing unprecedented fires in the Arctic Circle causing a smoke lid of 4 and a half million km over Northern Asia, and in turn rising temperature even more.
This is happening now and the world is watching without acting.
Without immediate changes, the future is grim
We are aware that something needs to change and change fast. Thing is, we do nothing, live our merry life and continue to consume Earth precious resources. What will help is a drastic and radical change within the basic intricacies of our society. We just need to alter the way we live.
In my opinion, the climate change summit Google organized was something that hit hard but is yet so relevant to the current situation. It illustrates how much humanity is so ingrained in its comfortable and opulent lifestyle that change will not happen if something is not drastically enforced and done one way or the other. We might not have yet passed that point of no return but it does not really matter if we rely on our current way of living. Looking back at my kids, I have a feeling of sadness and loss and wonder how the world would be when they will be 35.
I just hope that I am completely, utterly wrong and clueless on this matter. If decision-makers do not bring drastic changes to disrupt our society and way of living, I fear that the countdown will start sooner than anticipated.
© 2019 Maxwell Scott Goodman