If we Don’t Save our Planet, we are Killing Ourselves

by | May 1, 2021 | Climate change and sustainable development | 0 comments

Image: https://unsplash.com/@bill_oxford


Phoebe Gissing

Flooding, heatwaves, the spread of deserts and famine are all real possibilities worldwide in the next 30 years if we do not change. Our planet is warming faster than we could have ever expected, scientists predict that if the average global temperature rises by 2 degrees, there will be a major collapse of ecosystems on earth, and the effects of this on humanity will be detrimental to our lives. The changes we need to make are as one world society, singular governments cannot stop the warming of the earth alone they must work together to save life on earth as we know it.

The earth is warming, and we can see it around us, hot summers and mild winters in the UK have become increasingly common, according to NASA 17 of the hottest years on record have happened since 2001 and scientists worldwide agree that this is a direct effect of human activity. The warming earth also means the spread of deserts and destruction of fertile land, as human population rapidly grows we will need more resources to keep everyone alive. As population grows and resources dwindle it will be the rich and powerful who control everything from food to water supplies, leaving everyone else to fight over scraps. This may seem like some kind of dystopian movie plot, but it is a real possibility for the future of humanity.

As the earth warms the polar ice caps will melt, it is estimated that when the earths average temperature rises by 2 degrees sea levels will rise by 1.8feet, in the UK this would wipe out many towns, such as Skegness, Boston, Mablethorpe, Lincoln, hull, Grimsby and Doncaster. The loss of these towns would cause thousand of people to be displaced and countless deaths in the process of the flooding. Flooding of towns also has an economic impact as businesses and possessions are lost to the rising sea levels, these changes are inescapable and will affect everyone.

In 2016 the government entered into the Paris agreement which was a promise for the warming of the earth to not go above 2 degrees, as a response to this in 2019 legislation was passed for the UK to be at least net carbon zero by 2050. Research by the institute for government show that we are not currently on track to meet this target stating that “it is technically feasible but highly challenging” . The UK government has made some changes in order to attempt to meet this target, including the phasing out of fossil fuel power sources, and a commitment to stop the sale of petrol and diesel cars in 2040. However these changes are no substantial enough to meet the target they made after signing the Paris agreement.

Scientifically speaking there are many changes we can make to prevent this complete collapse of the climate and therefore society, things like using renewable energy sources and reducing our consumption of meat will save on carbon emissions every year, reducing the amount of deforestation happening in the world so there are more trees to actively take carbon out of the atmosphere and regulating the emissions of large corporations who contribute the most to climate change. But socially speaking how do we implement these changes? Is it a case of a few policy reforms or do we need a drastic change in the worlds societies?

There are many theories on how we could make changes to society in order to combat climate change, ecological modernization is one of these theories, it rejects the idea that capitalism is bound to cause environmental damage and aims to encourage individuals to make changes to their lives, and make legislative changes such as the green new deal in the USA but these changes ore often small and thus far have not been reducing our carbon emissions. A more controversial theory is the treadmill of production which draws upon Marxist theory to argue that the nature of the problem is systemic, and a radical and substantial response by world governments and a radical reorganization of the political economic system, suggesting that we will never reach the net carbon zero emissions under a capitalist system.

Without serious change to society the planet will continue to warm until we eventually cause our own extinction as well as that of the earth.


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