It’s too late to be moderate on climate change

That the earth is getting warmer is not new information.

That humans have played a role in causing this is not new information.

That the consequences of this will be dire is not new information, but the idea that we should actually do something about it seems pretty contemporary.

As far back as 1956 the New York Times wrote about carbon dioxide in the air being responsible for warmer temperatures. Some scientists and publications covered the link even before that.

A group of protestors at a climate change rally

Even allowing a few more decades for the scientific community to reach a consensus, any meaningful response is long overdue. That is to call our current response meaningful, which is optimistic to say the least.

Extinction Rebellion activist Nicholas Thurston says: “If the climate goes out of control then it’s very unlikely that most of life will survive on the planet.

“We’re not really capable of that kind of planning at a societal or an individual level.”

Curbing emissions, recycling & moving away from single use plastics are all positive changes, but this late they’re nowhere near enough.

Students at a climate rally facing down a police officer

Making small adjustments to reach a larger goal is generally a good idea. It avoids the disruption that inevitably comes with more immediate action by spreading any change across a greater span of time.

This falls apart when you don’t have that much time, as we currently don’t.

Gradually moving towards a greener society was entirely possible decades ago, but there wasn’t the drive for it.

Thurston says: “Back in 92 the horizon was still a very long time away, beyond most people’s lifetimes”.

To hear more from Nick listen to the audio below.

 

Change is inconvenient, even when it’s for the best. This is likely why so little has been done to tackle climate change, as the amount required is just too much effort and it’s previously felt off in the distance.

Naturally it’s easier to feel motivated when not acting could get you killed.

Leaving it this late doesn’t have to be fatal though, it simply requires more urgency and far more dramatic changes than we’re currently seeing.