THE title of a recent Toronto Star article — How Long We Laughed As We Ruined The Planet In 30 Years, by Heather Mallick — has never rung so true for me because when we hear something funny and impossible to believe, that’s what we do. We laugh. Now here we are facing disastrous consequences of climate change because of how long we spent laughing.
And I get it, I do. People don’t want to change their ways because what can they do now? It’s the next generation’s problem. So here I am with my future at risk because I’m the next generation. If all goes according to how scientists predict it will, I could also be one of the last generations.
The United Nations published a report last year saying that humans have 12 years to make “massive and unprecedented changes” to our way of life. And if we don’t change, the Earth will warm from pre-industrial levels by 3 C. Even at a 2 C rise, the effects are catastrophic; along with environmental ones, 10 million people will be at risk of climate change-related disasters and 250,000 people are expected to die each year because of climate change-related causes.
Do you know what it’s like to know that your life could very easily be cut short because each prior generation either ignored this problem or simply deemed it too late to do anything meaningful about it? Then sentenced the next generation with fixing it?
(Originally published April 20, 2019)