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Welcome to the anthropocene epoch, where humanity's destruction of the very conditions that allowed it to thrive begins.
With this book the authors hope to help forge a better world for their children, for all children. It maps the path we have to walk to create this better future - or rather we have to run it, for humanity has procrastinated to act for far too long.
Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless when facing them.
The world is on fire. The hour is late. The moment of consequence is upon us.
"Who we understand ourselves to be determines the choice we will make. That choice determines what will become of us. The choice is both simple and complex, but above all it is urgent."
All over the world, millions of young people are protesting or engaging in civil disobedience to draw attention to climate change, terrified about the quality of life looming on their horizon.
They demand action NOW!
Their anger is the energy needed to defy the status quo and bring forth the ingenuity ro realise new possibilities.
We have known about the possibility and the consequences of climate change since the 1960s. Yet little has been done to counter it. We hold conferences and sign agreements, but we continue to pursue economic growth through the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. We have wreaked havoc on the very ecosystems that sustain us.
Our negligence has precipitated climate change from an existential challenge to a dire crisis. We are rapidly approaching the limits beyond which our planet as we know it will cease to exist - the next mass extinction event, our extinction, is upon us.
Denying climate change is tantamount to saying you don’t believe in gravity. The science of climate change is not a belief, a religion, or a political ideology. It presents facts that are measurable and verifiable.
Climate deniers continue to say they don't 'believe' in climate change, prominent figures like Donald Trump amongst them.
Climate Change is already happening! No matter where we were born or where we live, it is already affecting us all. To deny it is irresponsible.
"Climate deniers are shamelessly protecting the short-term financial interests of the fossil fuel industry to the detriment of the long-term interests of their own descendants."
There are those who acknowledge climate change but do not believe that they can do anything about it. They grief over the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity. They have lost all faith in our collective capacity to challenge the course of human history. This grief is arguably a major reason climate change has continued practically unchecked for so long. But we cannot allow it to erode our capacity to mobilise for transformation.
Anger that sinks into despair is powerless to make a change. Anger that evolves into conviction is unstoppable.
The majority of us know that climate change exists. We see what has already begun happening around us. We understand the extreme consequences we will be faced with, our decendants will be faced with, if we continue on this road of destruction.
But it is scary and overwhelming. We don't know what to do, where to begin.
So we delude ourselves into thinking that there is no way we can help to stop it. We distract ourselves and go about life as if it will continue unimpeded.
But this is a mistake. Complacency now will lock us into a future of guaranteed scarcity, instability, and strife.
We cannot bring back the extinct species, the melted glaciers, the dead coral reefs, or the destroyed primary forests. The best we can do is keep the changes within a manageable range, staving off total calamity, preventing the disaster that will result from the unchecked rise of emissions. This, at least, might usher us out of the crisis mode. It is the bare minimum that we must do.
We can create a future where things not only stabilise but eventually get better. We can have more efficient and cheaper transportation. We can have cleaner air. We can practise smarter uses of natural resources. We are capable of changing course.
We have the social and political awareness. We have most of the technologies needed. We have the necessary capital.
Despite the daunting nature of this challenge, together we have what it takes to address climate change NOW.
We need to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest. To achieve this, global greenhouse gas emissions must be halved by 2030.
Climate change is not an issue of the survival of the planet, it is an issue of the survival of the human species.
Climate change should be of concern to all who care about health. Over 7 million people die from air pollution yearly.
Climate change should be of concern to all who care about economic stability. Coal has lost most of its financial viability.
Climate change should be of concern to all who care about intergenerational justice. Failure to act NOW will rob our children of their rightful future.
Let go of half-hearted attempts. Act in proportion to the magnitude of the challenge.
The planet will survive, in changed form no doubt, but it will survive. The question is whether we will be here to witness it.
Geological time used to be long and slow. The evironmental stability of the Holocene allowed the human species to evolve and thrive.
But over the past 50 years, we have severely damaged this stability. Half the world's tropical forests have been lost. The populations of wild mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have, on average, declined by 60 percent. 12 percent of all surviving species are currently threatened. Oceans have absorbed more than 90 percent of the extra heat we've produced, resulting in the death of half the world's coral reefs and the loss of the Arctic summer sea ice.
In just 50 years we have driven the planet out of the previous benevolent Holocene and into the Anthropocene, a new geological period in which biogeochemical conditions are dominated not by natural processes but by the impact of human activity. Humans are for the first time ever the prime driver of large-scale climate change on the planet.
The devastation is a growing possibility but not yet our inevitable fate. The full story has not been written. We still hold the pen. We can still choose to write a story of regeneration of both nature and the human spirit. But we have to choose NOW.
We need to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
If we cannot accomplish this, we and our children will live in a world that is constantly deteriorating with no possibility for recuperation.
It is not too late. Collectively, we can create a world in which nature and humanity can thrive together.
We have to wake up to the fact that we can choose our future and collectively create it. Our collective responsibility is to ensure that a better future is not only possible but probable, and then not only probable but foreseeable.
We are at the precipice. If we continue the old ways, resources will diminish further. Scarcity will dominate the world. Rebellion, war and chaos will follow. Welcome to the thunderdome!
Or we can take the steps to create a new world, where humans and nature live in harmony, where compassion and empathy are the new defining values of humanity. This road will not be easy and we may not live to see it. But we can be part of the creation, so our children and all who come after may benefit and thank us for it.
It is a choice each and every one of us has to make. NOW!
Impossible is not a fact. It is an attitude.
The most important thing is our state of mind.
"Be the change you want to see." - Gandhi
Three mindsets are fundamental:
Another person’s success is not our loss; it is our constantly growing collective success.
We can no longer afford the indulgence of feeling powerless. We can no longer afford to assume that addressing climate change is the sole responsibility of national or local governments, or corporations or individuals. This is an everyone-everywhere mission in which we all must individually and collectively assume responsibility. [...] Whoever you are, you are needed now.
The time for doing what we can has passed.
Each of us must now do what is necessary.
We are not doomed. We are not incapable.
This is our moment of truth.
Future generations may look back upon this moment as the single most significant turning point in human history.
We are all part of something great.
"No matter how complex or deep our differences, we fundamentally share everything that is important: the desire to forge a better world for everyone alive today and all the generations to come."
Together we can do this.
Let's reimagine the world and build it.
"Little drops make mighty oceans."
You are part of the solution. Your journey may start with small timid steps, what counts is that you start.
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