“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”Sir Robert Swan
It feels as though climate change turned into climate crisis overnight, but the truth is that we have only just started to pay attention. The United Nations’ scientific advisory board’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summates the work of the leading climate scientists based on more than 6,000 studies which has raised serious eyebrows, or should we say, panic.
The short-term goal of the IPCC scientists is to contain the global warming temperatures to 1.5 C which to achieve, needs serious global action, such as by halving CO2 emissions by 2030 and by reducing emissions to zero by 2050. It has been referred to as the “1.5 to stay alive”, or perhaps more accurately, for our children to survive.
If we continue on our current path without the radical action of emitting global emissions, including greenhouse gases and burning fossil fuels at the current rate, climate change is more likely to rise by 4 degrees, which would have disastrous consequences not for our future children, but for the children of today.
We don’t want to get inundated with fear, but we also cannot afford to ignore the facts, either. If we don’t show improvements, ecosystems will continue to vanish, more species will go extinct, we will lose our coral reefs, have three times as many insect pests (spreading diseases and eating more crops), alongside experiencing increases in dangerous heat waves and natural disasters.
With experts predicting rises in the cost of coffee due to – you guessed it – climate change, some heads might start to turn. As coffee grows from the ground and is highly dependant upon predictable and seasonal weather, irregularity threatens the farming production of the crop. Due to exponential demand and limited supply, we can expect soaring surcharges.
The longer that we take to reduce energy consumption and transition to renewable energy sources like solar and wind, the more that we will have to rely on carbon removal technologies – which require a lot of money, enormous infrastructure, land and resources to be developed. So while the facts are terrifying, we pledge to stay committed and to spread awareness, but with hope.
With such large global issues, it can be tempting to consider what impact we could possibly make at the individual level and to leave it for the ‘experts’ to sort out. However, the experts cannot achieve their essential targets without us collectively working towards the same targets at the individual and community level.
We clearly cannot control the entirety of this issue, but the planet needs us all to play our part and to do so imminently. Instead of bearing the weight of the survival of the world on your shoulders, we ask that you only take individual responsibility for what is in your control, and to be proud that you are contributing to something that is much larger than yourself.
We have broken down some resources to learn more about how we collectively have a chance at fighting climate change and how you, the individual can make the necessary changes to reflect this. It all starts with increasing awareness and education, and then taking action while spreading the word kindly.
Recommended TED Talks
#1. The Good Food Institute Executive Director and 2019 TED Fellow, Bruce Friedrich, explores how plant-based cell-based meat can solve pressing global challenges, including climate change, mitigating the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections, and producing more food with fewer resources. Watch Bruce’s TED talk titled The Next Global Agricultural Revolution here.
#2. Climate scientist Dr Katharine Hayhoe, gives us some practical and pragmatic tips on how to have a real discussion about climate change over shared values, without giving in to despair – and it all starts with a conversation. Watch Katharine’s TED talk titled The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Fight Climate Change: Talk About It.
#3. Nobel Laureate Al Gore raised attention on the global climate crisis by asking three powerful questions about the man-made forces threatening to destroy our planet and the solutions that we’re designing to combat them. Watch his TED talk titled The Case For Optimism on Climate Change here.
The Power of The Individual
#1. As we all eat, we can all eat more sustainably for the climate (which happens to be healthy for the human body, too). And yes, this involves the plant-based diet. If not entirely plant-based, you can make a change by increasing your meat-free meals: more plants and less animal products. Buy local and organic to protect clean soil from toxic pesticides, or grow your own food and ensure that it does not go to waste.
#2. Vote with your money and with your vote. We desperately need the government to get on board to lower our emissions and to shift to a cleaner-energy economy. If you have the means to switch to more renewable energy, vote with your money, otherwise vote with your vote to ensure that you’re supporting a party who is taking climate change seriously.
#3. Use energy mindfully and save money too. Small changes include changing to energy efficient light bulbs, unplugging devices such as computers and TVs when not in use, wash clothes in cold water, hang up clothes and ditch the dryer, and look for an energy star when purchasing devices.
#4. Green your commute where possible. Transportation emissions follow the oil and gas industry, thus take public transport, walk or ride a bike (it’s great for your health, too), car-share when you can, or switch to an electric hybrid vehicle (we’re saving up).
#5. Volunteer by planting in your backyard and in your community. As plants and trees grow, they take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into sugars through photosynthesis, which explains how forests store almost a third of global emissions, further reiterating why forests and undeveloped land need to be protected.
We know that this topic can be overwhelming, but starting with one person, one conversation and one change at a time, we would like to think that we still have hope. Here at Plantd, we endeavour to continue to provide quality tips so that we can all grow, sustainably, together.