In light of the COP26 negotiations that concluded on November 12, Magazine Reporter Tamara Kaňuchová presents her take on climate change and the need for action on the matter.
Whether you care about climate change or not, news concerning it is everywhere. New research is continuously being conducted and published, highlighting how dire the situation is and how soon we need to act. These findings are presented in various ways: some are framed in a more hopeful, simple manner, whereas others give you nothing but cold, hard facts. The question is: How do you keep yourself informed, get the correct information and not lose your mind? I have no clue. It often feels all but impossible to get the information necessary to form a valid opinion and to act based on it.
I try to do the bare minimum and a little more, as do most people in my closest circle. I try to limit my meat consumption, I try to not use single-use plastics and I try to avoid food waste (there is a statistic that says, if food waste was a country, it would come third in the amount of CO2 pollution, following only the US and China). However, it does not seem like enough at all. Conflicting calls for every individual to do their part by taking action are immediately followed by calling out big oil companies, stating that all our efforts are useless if they do not stop drilling right now. In the light of the recent COP26 (the UN climate conference in Glasgow), I have encountered a lot more information about the future of the Earth. After reading just a few articles I found myself staring at the wall, feeling like there is no hope. Scientists and activists are crying for the attention of governments and the public by enlightening them with information. Does this approach for getting the needed attention work in the current culture of sensationalism and breaking news? That might be a whole different conversation. The climate crisis is fighting a war against time and often against science, and its allies are greenwashing and ignorance.
Many of us are still comfortable in the current situation because the consequences seem to be very distant. For example, my home country does not border the sea or the ocean, so why should I care about its health? In this Central European country, I have encountered a lot of ignorance about these types of issues: “what does not concern me is not my problem to solve”. To me, the answer seems easy. The whole planet functions as a big interconnected system that is simply above all of us. We cannot distinguish separate ecosystems, continents, huge masses of water sustaining life, the atmosphere, fauna, flora, and finally, us humans. This is bigger than any of us, bigger than any company or man-made societal construct. No matter how evolved our thinking becomes, the basics of nature remain crucial to sustaining life. And after all, should it not be embedded in our “advanced” thinking that we should not take more than we can give? To be more specific, taking refers to using up resources from nature even though we know of more sustainable substitutes, producing and consuming things we do not need, destroying the ocean through an extensive fishing industry and pollution, and many little things one would not even remember.
I should probably end this article on a positive note, telling you some tips and tricks on what you can do to make a change in this world. I will not do that, as I hope what I said up to here will make you take responsibility and initiative yourself. There definitely are specific environmental topics that will interest you and you can look into these areas for possible solutions – one problem at a time. You can invest energy into something you care for and actually see local change in real life, so you will hopefully not lose interest after one week. There are so many great creative solutions, local projects, and young people taking the lead. There are no excuses for ignorance.
“There are so many great creative solutions, local projects, and young people taking the lead. There are no excuses for ignorance.”