In this space last week we talked about Stojo’s impact (and as an extension, your impact) on the planet. This week, we’re zooming way, way out for a bigger-picture look at climate change. We see the evidence of climate change all around us, like in the increase of forest fires and bleaching of coral reefs. We admit, it’s not easy to look at.
But it’s not all bad news! We’ve made a lot of effort towards improvement even in the past five years, and the world is coming together to make a change.
The State of Things Now
According to the United Nations, the past decade (2010 to 2019) was the hottest on record. However, there’s at least one silver-lining to the pandemic, and it’s that in 2020, greenhouse gas emissions fell by around 6% globally. A lot of things factored into this, but two of the main are the impact felt by industry and travel.
The buzzword you might have heard before is 2 degrees Celsius. That’s the mark that climate experts say, if average global temperatures rise above, will irreparably change our planet, and life as we know it. That’s the mark we’re all fighting so hard to stay under. Fortunately, some of the best minds on the planet are on the case.
The Paris Climate Agreement has come back in the news recently, as President Joe Biden is set to have the United States rejoin the international treaty. This is a pretty big deal, because the United States has one of the biggest economies in the world. If we’re committed to fighting climate, it sends a large, important message. The agreement is between almost 200 parties, mostly countries, and unites them in common goals to fight climate change and rising average temperatures.
The Agreement contains key goals, all of which aim to keep the global temperature rise under that 2 degrees Celsius mark we mentioned earlier. Countries also build a network of support, including financial, ensuring that everyone does their part and has the means to do so. Climate change is basically the biggest group project ever.
Part of what the Paris Agreement has already been successful in accomplishing is creating more competitive zero-carbon markets, incentivizing innovation in the sector. This has also resulted in the creation of more green jobs worldwide, a benefit not just to the planet, but the lives of individuals, too.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, and maybe scared, by these data, you’re not alone. Part of the reason climate change is such a difficult problem to address is the sheer size of it. It just seems too big to handle.
But what do you do with any big problem you face? You break it down into its smaller components:
- Use your voice: The power of activists like Greta Thurnberg doesn’t necessarily lie in their ideas or scientific pedigree, but their willingness to use their voice, to demand that they be heard. You, too, can use your voice to speak up when others flippantly deny climate change, or to demand better from your elected officials. Not just the big, national politicians, but the ones at the local level who control your municipality’s recycling policies. In fact, at this level, your voice could have even more of an impact.
- Invest in green: Literally. If you have an investment portfolio, consider divesting from fossil fuels or related industries, and instead put that money into green energy or B-corps (a certification that recognizes companies doing social or environmental good). You can also invest in green purchases yourself, from small things like our reusable cups, to much larger purchases like electric vehicles or solar panels for your home.
- Care: Don’t let the stress of climate change get to you. Considering the amount of people who doubt the existence of climate change, or at least its causes, caring about the planet means a lot. This is a problem we can face—together.