It’s 2019, and although the threat of climate change has been hanging over our heads for several years, we have gone from being flippant and ignorant to scrambling to make change in the small time we have left. I’m sure the topic of climate change is well and done through, and as soon as those words were read I bet interest was lost for some, but this is information that we all need to hear.
We have twelve years. Don’t worry- we have more then twelve years to live, but it won’t be much of a life after that. We have twelve years to limit climate change to 1.5C, anything above that-even 2C, will significantly increase of draught, floods, extreme heat waves, poverty, hurricanes, and so on.
The Paris Agreement is a summit involving world powers approaching a legally binding climate agreement. Donald Trump is threatening to leave this summit. Jair Bolsonaro as well threatens to open the Amazon to Agribusiness. This will open 20% of our oxygen source to even more genocide that it’s already suffering. This year, the Amazon fire that was caused by human activity has set the highest record of burning. Many Natives that like in the Amazon lost their homes, their land, their lives, and the burning continues. We are losing 1/5th of our oxygen source. According to NASA, carbon dioxide levels in the air are the highest they’ve been in 650 000 years. 18 of the 19 hottest years recorded have been after 2001. The arctic ice levels are going down %12.8 each decade. The sea levels are rising 3.3 mm each year. The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events and hurricanes. Now I know this is a lot of numbers I’m throwing at you, but to put it simply- it’s not looking good.
On Friday. September 27th. 2019, 4 000 of K-W’s students skipped school and took to Waterloo Town Square for a climate strike. The turn-out was mind-blowing and it resulted in many people like myself on the roof of the parkade across the street. There were many performers showcasing their songs about the climate crisis, but what struck me the most is that there were many speakers from various elementary schools- they couldn’t have been more then 7 years old. These children had only been on this earth for 7 years and they are spending their childhood trying to save the planet so they can have future like us. No child should ever have to strike for their future.
This strike was one of the million across the world, each following the trend of FridaysforFuture, led by 16-year old climate activist Greta Thunberg. Greta and many other students such as Autumn Peltier (15) and Nadia Nazar (17) are leading the nations in a fierce battle agains selfish one-percenters, a battle which we will win. This is our future that we are fighting for alongside them.
There are many initiatives out there doing what they can, but even one plastic bottle littered on the sidewalk can make a difference. We cannot leave it up to big cooperations to change everything when we as a community do nothing. We are all a part of this and there is no time to slack off. Here’s what you can do;
- For those of you who can vote, push for climate solutions this election.
- Use energy wisely- and save money while doing it.
- Use renewable energy sources such as solar energy in your home or electric cars.
- Buy Organic and Local
- Lower meat consumption
- Walk, bike, or bus whenever possible
- Support or join youth-led movements.
- Ditch single-use plastics
- CONSUME LESS
for those of you with heavy enough pockets, consider donation to any of the organizations below. Every cent counts.
1. Defenders of Wildlife
The Defenders of Wildlife protect and restore endangered wildlife across North America and beyond. Over the years, Defenders of Wildlife has fought for the conservation of green sea turtles, red wolves, Florida manatees and the prairie chicken and constantly fights for the preservation of wildlife habitats.
2. Sierra Club
The Sierra Club has a straightforward mission: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet. They are now the largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States, with three million members and supporters and played an important role in passing the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.
3. Global Footprint Network
The Global Footprint Network is a relatively new environmental organization, founded in 2003, but they have obtained an impressive number of international awards for their work. Their mission is to help companies, governments and individuals make wiser, more sustainable ecological decisions by offering actionable insights into natural resource management, resource consumption and capacity. Since its inception, the Global Footprint Network has collaborated with 50 nations, 30 cities and 70 global partners to balance their ecological footprint, fight climate change and invest in sustainable development.
4. West Sound Wildlife Shelter
The West Sound Wildlife Shelter provides injured, orphaned, and sick wildlife a second chance at life and promotes the well-being of wildlife and their habitats through public outreach, education, and involvement. They treat more than 500 animals each year and if you want to contribute to this cause, you can make a donation, become a volunteer or purchase merchandise such as T-shirts and hoodies. The West Sound Wildlife Shelter is also a part of several community programs and you can even help them by donating animal care and feeding supplies.
5. International Fund for Animal Welfare
Ever since it was founded in 1969, the mission of the International Fund for Animal Welfare has been to protect the natural habitat of animals and prevent their extinction. IFAW has offices in 15 countries and engages in wildlife protection programs in 40 countries. By fighting for landscape conservation and acting against animal crime, they have saved thousands of rhinos, endangered tigers, giraffes, elephants and more.
6. Earth Day Network
The Earth Day Network is the World’s Largest environment movement. They are the main organization behind Earth Day, but apart from this initiative they also engage in many other projects that raise awareness on climate change, fight deforestation and poverty, restore the urban tree canopy and mobilize the population through environmental and climate literacy.
7. Marine Conservation Institute
Marine wildlife is severely threatened by pollution and climate change, but the Marine Conservation Institute are ready to do something about this. Their main project is the Global Ocean Refuge System, is a science-based, collaborative and international effort designed to catalyze strong protection for at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. The Marine Conservation Institute fight for the protection of our waters and coast and, if you want to contribute, you can make a direct donation, become an Ocean Guardian, or even donate while shopping through Giving Assistant.
Founded in 2006 by African conservationist Richard Leakey, who is credited with putting an end to the elephant slaughter in Kenya in the 1980s, WildlifeDirect has offices in Kenya and the United States and empowers communities to peacefully coexist with wildlife. Some of their most notable programs include Fashion4Wildlife, Education and Outreach and NTV Wild.
9. Natural Resources Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) was founded in 1970 and has an extensive environmental outreach. Every year, they tackle major issues ranging from climate change and wildlife conservation to food waste and renewable energy. They were called “One of the nation’s most powerful environmental groups” by the New York Times and in 2017 they managed to spend more than $110 million on environmental programs.
10. National Audubon Society
If you are fascinated by birds and would like to get involved in protecting their natural habitat, the National Audubon Society is the organization to donate to. Though state programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners, they protect birds and the places where they live since 1905.
Remember, there is always something you can do. You’re impact is miore important then you might think. In the wise words of Climate Activist David Suzuki, “In a world of more than seven billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket. But with enough drops, we can fill any bucket.”