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Climate Change and You

By Marilyn Bruno, Climate Writer

Left half of photo is is dead tree, dust, and dry dirt. Right half is of green tree, blue sky, and grass.

In its latest report, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that, if the world wanted to restrict temperature rise to within 1.5 degree Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, then global greenhouse emissions needed to peak by 2025 “at the latest” – 3 years from now. This has been called the IPCC’s “now or never” warning, enforcing the agreement of 196 countries of the world at the Paris Accord in 2015.

Now the IPCC is saying that the 1.5 degree goal will likely be missed in 2025. We are already at 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Sounds insignificant?

A 2 degree Celsius rise triggers the following effects, which will also be felt in Southern California:

  • The irreversible loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet, eventually causing 5 meters (roughly 16 feet) of sea level rise, enough to inundate large portions of coastal cities, roadways, etc.
  • Extreme weather patterns, causing habitat destruction, hurricanes, tornadoes, torrential downpours, heatwaves
  • Increase in food prices because of massive droughts (desertification) and loss of 99% of coral reefs — the base of the marine food chain 
  • Rolling power blackouts, especially as you use more air conditioning
  • Doubling/tripling of electric and water bills
  • Collapse of land prices 
  • Depletion and pollution of aquifers and other drinking water supplies, algae blooms will take over remaining fresh water sources
  • 20x more wildfires, pushing property insurance rates through the roof
  • Loss of animals, plants, and insects habitats, leading to the prophecy that almost half of the world species will go extinct by 2100
  • Bacteria and fungi disease rates will double; pandemics will be more widespread 
  • Your kids’ and grandkids’ life expectancy will be shortened due to air and water pollution and food contamination.

Is this the legacy we want to leave to the next generations?  Are we going to leave it to Greta Thunberg, our own Youth4Climate team and other teenagers to express their outrage that this has been allowed to happen? Who allowed this to happen? We did. The adults.

We did not hold our legislators accountable for stopping the madness over our lifetimes:

  • Failure to levy taxes and sanctions on oil and gas pumping 
  • Failure to provide extensive, convenient public transportation this is clean and green
  • Failure to subsidize more widely solar panels, electric vehicles, electric water heaters, etc.
  • Failure to ban all plastic bags, containers, straws, etc.
  • Failure to stop destroying rainforests, the “lungs” of our planet

And what about our own personal madness? What are we doing to slash our own personal CO2 emissions and uncontrolled consumption?

  • Stop using gas guzzling cars, lawn mowers, jet skis, motor boats, flying on airplanes, going on cruises, buying goods shipped from overseas, 
  • Stop buying clothing made of polyester and other artificial fibers etc.; donate clothing
  • Stop buying take-out; cook for the week and eat leftovers
  • Stop barbeques, fire pits, wood-burning fireplaces
  • Require that contractors build/renovate using natural and renewable construction materials (e.g. wood, algae-based cement)
  • Cultivate algae in a bioreactor in your back yard instead of planting a tree (it suck up 300x more CO2 than a tree); compost.
  • Save water, take 5- minute showers, flush the toilet less
  • Turn off lights, lower your thermostat
  • Take public transportation
  • Eat plant-based, reduce meat consumption

Not doing these things? If you don’t, you, your kids/grandkids will be forced to take these and other more harsh measures in 23 years. Far worse than this is already going on in half of the world.

All UN members will be attending the United Nations‘ Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) 27 in Sharm El Sheikh Egypt from November 6-18, 2022. They will be blaming each other for not meeting the 1.5 degree Celsius target.

We should be blaming the U.S. for not put Climate #1 on the political agenda for the past 25 years.  Here is what we need to do:  

  • Make sure that your local, State and Federal representatives understand that climate is more important than anything else that needs to be done. 
  • If you don’t know their position on climate, ask them. Get your local journalists, TV and radio stations to ask them and give their answers full coverage.
  • Vote for the candidates that will protect you, your home, and your future.
  • Most importantly, instead of pointing to the few percentage points of today’s inflation, we need to focus on the irreversible, long-term impacts of climate change on our well-being and wealth – and our legacy.