Wake up to the warnings and change!

The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless global society transforms. So says the bleak warning published recently in the journal of BioScience on the 40th anniversary of the first world climate conference held in 1979. This latest statement (last year there was a similar one from over 20 000 scientists) was a collaboration of dozens of scientists and endorsed by a further 11,000 from 153 nations.

“We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” it states. “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems”. There is no time to lose, the scientists say: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.”

How do we wake up to this news and then blithely go about our days, business as usual, ignoring the horror of the climate crisis that is now daily apparent?

Last week my brother in Los Angeles packed what little he could into his car to prepare for evacuation as the catastrophic California fires raged. This week friends in New South Wales Australia choke on smoke as hundreds of ferocious fires burn along the east coast and exhausted and traumatised firefighters call on their government to recognise and act on climate as the fire season gets longer and hotter there too.

As millions suffer poverty and inequity and millions more become desparate climate refugees in the face of fires, floods (Venice is now underwater) and other climate disasters, droughts extend, water is ever scarcer, forests of the Amazon are burnt to make way for cattle ranches to feed meat eaters and oil drilling to line wealthy pockets, it is difficult to remain hopeful.

The scientists who penned the latest warning say the urgent changes needed include ending population growth, leaving fossil fuels in the ground, halting forest destruction and slashing meat eating. This will require completely redesigning the way our society lives and works.

The millions of children globally who climate strike on Fridays and new movements like Extinction Rebellion join ever increasing numbers of climate activists and scientists reiterating the calls for change. They talk not of climate change but climate crisis and are pleading for radical system change as the only thing that may save us.

Are you willing to change to give our grandchildren hope?

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