Climate change presents humanity with a threat that we have never seen before. Every year, we emit more and more greenhouse gases, adding onto the billions of tons that we have already emitted and incrementing the global temperature above pre-industrial levels. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, if this global temperature increase from pre-industrial levels exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius, our planet will face serious consequences, such as the eradication of entire ecosystems, the permanent melting of ice sheets in the North Atlantic, global sea level rise, and increased potency and frequency of extreme weather events. Not only do these threats affect the flora and fauna of our world, but they directly impact human society. These changes would cost trillions of dollars of damages over the world and endanger the livelihood of those who depend on the land or the ocean to earn their living. For example, one billion people currently live in water-scarce regions, but this figure could grow to over 3.5 billion by 2025 due to climate change. In order to overcome this issue, we need to drastically change how our society consumes energy and food. Now, the task of addressing and mitigating the effects of climate change is daunting and may seem unapproachable because of the sheer magnitude of work to be done. Today, I would like to inspire you with work that has already been accomplished and demonstrate what these steps towards tackling climate change look like.
Interactive Climate Change Map
To demonstrate the diverse and global nature of the efforts against climate change, I created an interactive map of the world through a prezi presentation that showcases how some people, governments, and corporations have decided to contribute to climate change. You might notice red location markers appearing on the map, I will get to that later.
Here is the link: https://prezi.com/view/UAwCX1FLI0S7KeMuRjDL
How they contributed?
Each example demonstrates a unique way in which these groups of people worked to address climate change. Each organization/group of people had their own opportunity and they capitalized on that opportunity to the betterment of our planet. For example, as an energy corporation, ScottishPower was able to sell its fossil fuel production assets and switch to 100% renewable wind energy, cutting their own emissions and setting a precedent for other energy companies.While students probably do not have the same influence in renewable energy as an established energy provider like ScottishPower has, the students were still able to advocate for climate change and spread the word about the necessity for change government policy and legislation. These accounts demonstrate how each and every one of us can contribute to mitigating climate change because of the broad range of opportunities available. To emphasize the sheer amount of opportunities we have for improvement, here is Drawdown’s list of 100 Solutions to climate change: https://www.drawdown.org/solutions-summary-by-rank
The six examples in the interactive map demonstrate that any group of people are capable of contributions. This fact shows two sides to actions towards climate change mitigation. First, it shows that corporations and governments are willing to make concrete actions to contribute to climate change under the right circumstances. For example, in Shenzhen, China, the local government was able to lead the transition from diesel buses to electric buses because the subsidies that helped minimize the logistical cost of switching from diesel to electric and the higher upfront cost of electric. As a result, Shenzhen now only uses electric buses, which cost less to maintain and emit less greenhouse gases. Second, these examples demonstrate that the general public can contribute in their own way. Student across the globe were able to bring attention to the issue of climate change through the march on March 15th of this year. This brings me to what you can do as a reader. First, reducing your carbon emissions is a step in the right direction in the struggle against climate change. Here is a website that allows you to calculate your ecological footprint and it gives ways to reduce your emissions based on your responses: https://www.footprintcalculator.org/
As an individual, using this footprint calculator is a great way to reduce emissions, but unfortunately, major corporations and large-scale factories play a much larger role in greenhouse gas emissions. According to a report by the Carbon Disclosure Project in 2017, 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global greenhouse gas emission and have been since 1988. That is why a great way to help support mitigating climate change is to support politicians and legislation that work to limit the carbon emissions of companies and to ensure that no malpractice occurs at the expense of our planet.
As a reader of this page, you have already begun to support humanity in the struggle against climate change. Through education, you have realized more ways to address climate change and I hope you will keep this information in mind for the next election cycle. The dots on the interactive map represent every person who has read this page and contributed through self-education as you have. Please fill out the following survey to add your dot to the map on the presentation and to help give more insight on your perception of climate change and this webpage.