Once upon a time, there was a planet. A beautiful blue-green dot in the vastness of space, going about its business as the third rock from the sun.
This world saw many changes. Its landmasses contorted and formed over millennia, warping through Pangea, Gondwanaland and many other named-faces, converging and diverging along plates, scarring and puckering, reforming through volcanoes and earthquakes, but always beautiful.
Its atmospheric composition changed, from its early hydrogen/water/methane/carbon oxides, through various other combinations, before ‘settling’ on nitrogen/argon/oxygen – making it possible for living things to start to populate its various lands – under the protection of an ozone layer, of course.
It has known ice ages and interglacials, been a greenhouse and an icehouse world, survived meteors and comets, solar radiation, more extinction than it’s known new species; and yet it goes on, strives to keep going, keeping itself alive, if you’re a Gaia theorist.
Earth, with its solid core, liquid mantle, shifting crust, has been through so much. It’s survived around 4.5 billion years without our interference. We’ve been here barely the blink of an eye, in the scheme of things, and look what we’ve done to it. And for those who say climate change is a natural phenomenon; yes it is. It’s not that we’ve invented climate change like it’s a brand new, shiny gadget; it’s the rate at which we’re changing it that’s alarming.
Isn’t it funny how so many of the naysayers, the climate change deniers, are those with vested interests in industries doing the most harm? Isn’t it bemusing how western countries that know how much damage fossil fuel consumption does, points the finger of blame at nations who are just going through an industrial revolution that we’ve already been through, yet look away when anyone talks of helping those countries with renewable energy sources?
No. Actually, it isn’t. It’s not funny, bemusing, or someone else’s problem. Climate change denial is the ultimate form of NIMBYism. Ah, we’ll be fine; we have the technology to deal with whatever comes. You might, sure, but maybe you want to talk to one of the alliance of AOSIS, those nations that would be hit first, that might disappear altogether, if the global climate rises just a tiny amount.
And by the way, it does impact you. You don’t think any amount of money is going to stop increased severe weather events coming to your doorstep, do you? You don’t think that it’s not going to hit your pockets when we ignore what’s happening, when you have to start paying, oh, you know. Increased taxes to cover the cost of constant infrastructure renewal, for example. Increased health insurance because our skin’s just not tolerant of constant exposure to the sun – and skin cancer’s no longer covered, because hey, everyone’s got it. Increased cost of water if/when potable water starts becoming – already is an outpriced, unobtainable commodity for far too many people (… Flint…). When the cost of fuel becomes too extortionate because there’s just not enough left to run all of our vehicles.
Last week saw the March For Science on Earth Day. We have science champions who know what they’re talking about telling us this is happening – that politicians choose to ignore, tell them they have no place in politics. We’ve grown in awareness for so many of our problems, and yet we also seem to have grown in our stupidity; particularly for things like the very real issue we are facing with climate change. Do we have the technology to move to another planet when we’ve killed this one off? Not yet – and even if we did, that’s no excuse. This is our home.
No one’s saying we shouldn’t advance as a species. What we should do, is look to methods of sustainable growth, so that future generations have a planet to actually exist on. No one’s denying that we need energy to power our societies; we need to find a way to make renewable energy sources affordable, reliable, viable, even.
No one is saying the onus is on one single individual, or nation. But if single nations can decide how the rest of the world lives by flexing their political, or military muscles, why can they not do the same to help our environment? Hey, politicians, you get into politics for personal gain, don’t you? How about thinking of the environment like this; it is personal gain. Because if you protect our environment, you’re saving yourself – and your future generations to continue dictating this planet (on second thoughts…).
This planet deserves a happy ever after, and it existed quite happily before we became a stain on its surface. If we push the climate to the point where life is no longer sustainable here, this planet will continue existing, right up until the sun goes out in about five billion years from now. It doesn’t need us, but we need it; there’s a reason it’s called Mother Earth.