By Tori Lyn Hoke
Boston University News Service
In February 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a statement, warning the public about the irreversible effects of climate change. It emphasized that everyone needs to take an action immediately to ensure a sustainable future.
Some people believe that climate change is a large-scale problem and that their individual efforts are worthless. While human-induced climate change is not reversible, global efforts can still slow it down and preserve the planet for future generations. Climate change is a genuine and serious issue.
According to IPCC, Earth is projected to experience global warming of 1.5ºC (2.7ºF) within the next two decades. While an increase of a few degrees may not seem like a detrimental amount, it is. Once the global warming level is reached, there will be limited options for reparations. Furthermore, inaction will have irreversible effects on humans and vital ecosystems.
First, the rich need to take a step back and realize their role in this situation. According to a published article by BBC, wealth leads to overconsumption, leading to a larger carbon footprint. However, these well-off members of society remain ignorant of their contributions to global warming because climate change doesn’t directly affect them yet. Meanwhile, low-income communities are already facing health risks from the increased temperatures. The Harvard Study of 2014 reports that the adverse health impacts of summertime heat are a significant problem in New York City and many other cities around the world, and are expected to increase with a warming climate.
This type of economic disparity throughout different parts of the world is why we see no improvements. The rich need to fix their habits because climate change will affect them eventually, and they hold the power and resources to pioneer change.
Secondly, everyone needs to remember that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t existing; while slow-onset changes such as the sea-level rise and temperature increase are not extremely apparent to the human eye, they are happening. NASA reports that the effects of human-induced climate changes are irrefutable: glacier melts, drought, heatwaves, and inconsistent weather patterns. The accumulation of hard evidence should be a cause for concern and action from everyone.
Most importantly, urban societies need to learn how to utilize Indigenous knowledge and properly use natural resources to their advantage. According to IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair Debra Roberts, “By bringing together scientific and technological know-how as well as Indigenous and local knowledge, solutions will be more effective.”
Indigenous people throughout the world have been displaced to high-risk environments and are forced to experience the effects of global warming every day. Thus, they need a voice in climate change policy. Without the help from the indigenous people, most solutions will be ineffective in the long run.
Everyone needs to take action now and stop waiting around for others to change first. Waiting will lead to further inaction, and inaction will destroy this planet. It is up to human action to prevent further ecological destruction. It is imperative that every individual does their part to preserve this planet.