Our blue and green world now wears a greyish hue. The CO2 blanket that envelopes the world constantly threatens to alter and eventually decimate the life-sustaining qualities of the climate. Effects of climate change are no longer subtle. Frequent wildfires, shifting habitat, prolonged heat waves, the spread of disease, stronger storms, melting arctic ice cap, and raising sea levels are hinting towards the future that we will have to endure (or might not be able to endure after all) if we continue on this path.
Currently, global daily CO2 emission levels are at 406.47 ppm (parts per million) (January 21st, 2017). However, the numbers stood at just 300 ppm (parts per million) in 1950. And surprisingly, CO2 emissions have never been this high within last 400,000 years. Which indicates that rise in our fossil fuel dependency is the primary reason behind this ‘not so slow’ atmosphere poisoning (Two-thirds of total greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of CO2 emissions come from fossil fuel combustion). And evidently, now the world is trying to change the scenario by adopting more and more of renewable energy, especially solar. Global PV installations are expected to reach 79 GW in 2017 from 57.8 GW in 2015, and huge investments in renewable energy (approximately $286 billion in 2016) speak brazenly of a clean and safe energy rich future.
However, since it is a race against time (because every day of fossil fuel usage is nearing us to the extent of colossal peril), we need to put in more effort to make climate improvement actions more effective. Thus, giving enough time to green energy shift to restore the planet’s future wellbeing.
Unite To Sustain Life
There are quite a few international activities that address climate-changing issues. However, to see worldwide changes in the environment, we need to unite. Creating and working under a single banner that will act as the face for environmental improvement and cover all the bases of requirements, will offer better results. For example, we can uphold the success of UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement, which brought in countries (European Union and 195 nations) and made it possible to find ways to reduce CO2 emissions. Creating such platforms can design a framework for activities and help in understanding mutual requirements, improving the results worldwide.
Making It Personal
It is hard for people to contribute in improving or changing something when the whole idea is somewhat abstract. And that is exactly what the environment issue is to people. Creating a feeling of urgency can change the scenario and push people to act on climate improvement. Just displaying elaborate charts showing carbon emissions won’t do the job, we need more personal touch to involve people. Initiating conferences and campaigns informing people about climate improvement locally, and especially after local environmental disasters (Hurricane, sea level rise, drought) would work better in engaging people. It is easier for people to relate to an environmental disaster when it has affected them personally. It will also create an urge in them to prevent such occurrences, prompting to take action towards environment improvement.
Sending Positive Messages
Several conferences and campaigns have been organised, and informative journals explaining the impending doom, that will follow climate degradation (by continued fossil fuel usage) are sent out to people across the world for awareness on the issue. However, we are yet to see worldwide awareness and positive responses on a larger scale. Why? Because we are all hardwired to avoid stories of loss. Facts highlighting how we are destroying our climate tends to incite a feeling of guilt, which we instinctively try to avoid. It is incredibly naïve, but that is how we are. So, instead of making people feel helpless and depressed, trying a positive approach might produce better results.
Highlighting the financial benefits of using green energy (in detail) and the business opportunities it brings, can help people find a better and happier reason to contribute to climate improvement.
Mind the Psychological Knot
As a sentient lifeform, our species should get behind taking positive actions to improve climate health. However, changes are always hard, especially when you have depended on something for decades. For example, the world cannot just quit air travel ‘cold turkey’, even if every passenger knew that air travel has highest emissions per person/km, and it has produced 781 million tonnes of CO2 in 2015. There is a psychological knot here that we need to loosen up, and not try to hammer or cut to smoothen the thread.
Shouting ‘How can you deny/ignore scientific facts’ and trying to use force to make people do what is ideal and right, would only push them into a defensive stance. And resistance isn’t going to help us in making climate improvement actions more effective. We need everyone to be a part of this movement if we are going to save our climate.
Going green is easy and essential. All we need is each other to make a positive change permanent. Implementing tax on carbon emissions and other similar policies may result in reducing the climate degradation, but it will not stop it. We need to join hands, inform everyone, and move forward towards green energy shift together as a community to build a healthier and energy rich future.