There is no Planet B.
This is all we have. Therefore, we need to begin to protect it, not with just legislation proposed, but with non-performative activism and practicing sustainability in our everyday lives.
In 2021, the United Nations released a report that warned that the changes in environment caused by human activity are irreversible, putting billions of us at risk, and warned that we are in a code red for humanity. At this current rate, our climate will be between 2.1° and 3.9° warmer by 2100. Communities would hardly be able to function, and the climate would be unbearably difficult to survive in.
We will most likely experience more natural disasters, extreme heating and drought, a shortage of crops and food, and a decrease in species that have lived on this planet for thousands of years.
“The world faces unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5°C (2.7°F). Even temporarily exceeding this warming level will result in additional severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible. Risks for society will increase, including to infrastructure and low-lying coastal settlements,” stated this past February in the summary for policymakers of the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group II report, ‘Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.’
Although in 2017, according to a report released by the Carbon Disclosure project, 100 companies are directly linked to 71% of total greenhouse emissions since 1998, there are still things we can do on an individual level to slow the damages being made on our ozone layer. As in the U.S., in 2018, from a released report, ‘U.S. Leads in Greenhouse Gas Reductions, but some States Are Falling Behind,’ from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, our country accounts for only about five% of global population, but is responsible for 30% of global energy use and 28% of carbon emissions.
Our ozone layer is depleting. Our planet is dying. It will not take long before we make our home inhabitable. To slow human-caused global warming, those who can afford a solar and wind energy change in energy usage would help immensely, even if it is a small change. It will emit less heat trapping gasses in the atmosphere. Support local businesses that use and promote sustainable practices, use reusable bags, and start composting food and reusing simple things to lessen the amount of trash we build. Bike instead of drive, and recognize that we have a voice. Change starts with us.
This is not the future we want for our children and future generations. This is still happening, day by day, among all the other issues we need to continue tackling. Continue activism and continue pushing for change in the institution that governs us. President Biden has introduced his plan for cutting emissions March 28; a $5.8 trillion budget request for fiscal year 2023, including nearly $45 billion for several federal agencies to tackle climate change. However, it outlines little of directly decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and power plants. It may be hard to keep practicing activism when it feels like voices are not being listened to. Stay resilient.
The institution that is supposed to protect us needs to step up.
According to climate.gov, “Stabilizing global temperature near its current level requires eliminating all emissions of heat-trapping gasses or, equivalently, achieving a carbon-neutral society in which people remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as they emit. Achieving this goal will require substantial societal changes in energy technologies and infrastructure that go beyond the collective actions of individuals and households to reduce emissions.”