A Personal Reflection on Climate Change

Maliha Khan | Delhi, India What would one do if one’s house was on fire? A few obvious reactions would be, panicking or trying to set the fire out. But why are we not seeing this reaction when our only home, planet earth, is indeed on fire? When on the Internet I see people debating over climate change, it puzzles me. Why is there a need for discussion over whether climate change is real or not? It’s not an opinion, but a fact and stands true no matter what we choose to believe. Climate Change is our reality and to deny it would be an action of absolute ignorance and utter cruelty towards our environment and ourselves. Humanity may have witnessed many successes throughout the ages, but today we are witnessing what is possibly our biggest failure. Ice caps are melting, the Amazon Rainforest is on fire, our oceans are filled with toxic waste, and ecosystems are collapsing. We are moving towards a mass extinction phase. What makes it worse is that we only have a few years left to correct our mistakes. To quote Mr. Barack Obama, “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last one that can do something about it.” Much of the older generation does not understand the gravity of the situation or some don’t even care. Perhaps, that’s because they are not the ones who will face the consequences. There’s this immense ignorance on this subject; people have no idea what effects of climate change are. Our education systems lack awareness over climate change. Though I was taught about global warming in school, the idea was presented as something that takes place in a foreign country where things happen differently, which had no direct bearing on me as an individual. Talking about climate change was a mere activity held on environment day. Wasting loads of paper to make posters for the art room and making paper bags for the craft class was all the day was about. Encouragement to incorporate solutions into our lives, was absent from school and home. It was not until I started experiencing the effects of climate change first hand that I understood the gravity of the situation. We have to inform people about its urgency. Our future is in danger. If we do not take action fast, it will not be long before ours will be a story of extinction like that of thousands of species before us. What is shocking is how our leaders are lackadaisical in their approaches to climate change. In fact, many world leaders have turned a blind eye to the crisis. Such an issue transcends nationalities, and we need to unite for this cause. We need to raise our voices and they must be heard. Against the backdrop of failing, (in fact, the absence of efforts from leaders), children, and teenagers all across the world have come on the streets. Students who should be in classrooms studying, are calling for strikes because their future is in danger. Young activists like Greta Thunberg and Anuna De Wever are bringing a wave of change and inspiring thousands. Although it is a good thing that they are having this impact, it should not have needed to happen in the first place as Greta explains. A youth climate activist or Fridays for Future shouldn’t have existed. It is because of the reckless and exploitative attitude of our previous generations towards the environment that has led to this disastrous state. While the world leaders are sticking to their guns about industrialization, capitalism and a market-driven economy, an increasing need has been felt to hold our leaders accountable for their indifferent attitude to such an alarming issue. A climate emergency needs to be declared globally. To quote Anuna De Wever “We need brave leaders to take brave decisions.” The fact that I am focusing on political action more than individual efforts is because our daily lives depend on the decisions our leaders make. I encourage discarding single-use plastic and adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle. But we can only accomplish this when the system supports it. The things we use every day come in plastic packaging and these are the necessary things. I can choose a cloth bag for shopping but the packaging of the products isn’t up to me. I can choose not to pollute the water bodies but whether the factories continue to do so, or not is not under my control. I cannot cut global carbon dioxide emissions all by myself. When a law is made and strictly implemented, it alters our decisions regardless of our personal preferences. The profit-oriented capitalist companies have to understand that money will be of no use when you won’t have air to breathe and water to drink, and our leaders need to stop defending and protecting them. We need laws to protect our environment, not companies. We have less than 8 and half years for a 67% chance of preventing global temperature to rise above 1.5 degrees and yet the political acumen required for achieving such targets are nowhere to be found. Change is a necessity at this point; it has to be brought one way or another. So to all those who think that climate change is a hoax or not as big a deal, I say, if you choose to ignore climate change, then you are willingly choosing extinction. Note from Editors: For more information on the science behind climate change, please visit the following links: https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/ https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/04/us/climate-change-science-101-basics/index.html https://www.climaterealityproject.org/sites/climaterealityproject.org/files/Climate%20101_FINAL.pdf https://climateatlas.ca/climate-change-basics

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

© 2020 by Maryam and Nivaal Rehman