Why we should act
Why should we fight against climate change?
Over the last decades, more and more people are realizing that climate change is significantly affecting our lives; and it will not get any better if we don’t do everything we can in our power. A mind-blowing consequence of climate change is the fact that due to the increasing temperature on earth ice caps are melting at exponential rates. But what does this mean? This could cause that in 80 years, larger parts of the vast land will become inhabitable, extreme weather conditions will occur more often and our earth won’t be a livable place for generations to come.
Why do we need to be sustainable?
Energy is used everywhere in our lives, our mobile phones, computers, refrigerators, ovens and heating in our homes are all consuming energy. So where does the energy come from? What resources are we consuming to produce it?
In 2020, 11.1% of energy consumption in the Netherlands came from renewable sources. This shows that we are mainly still consuming resources that are limited and difficult to regenerate in the short term to live sustainably. If this situation does not change, as the population and average life expectancy increase (According to the United Nations projects there will be more than 10 billion people living on Earth by the year 2100), non-renewable resources will eventually be exhausted. Then how will future generations survive?
The consumption of non-renewable resources also has a significant impact on the environment we live in, and the process of producing energy generates greenhouse gases, which further contributes to more climate change problems. The results of climate change are disastrous for not only humanity but for the whole planet.
The results of climate change are disastrous for not only humanity but for the whole planet. This is shown by the United Nations on their website, as they list facts about Greenhouse Gases (GHG’s).
‘The concentration of GHGs in the earth’s atmosphere is directly linked to the average global temperature on Earth;
The concentration has been rising steadily, and mean global temperatures along with it, since the time of the Industrial Revolution;
The most abundant GHG, accounting for about two-thirds of GHGs, carbon dioxide (CO2), is largely the product of burning fossil fuels.’ (United Nations, n.d.)
This might seem like a summary of consequences that are not that outstanding, and you probably knew this already, but the results are disastrous. As mentioned on the same webpage, these developments can lead to dramatic, irreversible changes in major ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest. Thomas Lovejoy, Amazon expert, shows that the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest is critical for the globe. As he puts it, every species in the Amazon rainforest is a solution to a biological challenge. We are rapidly reaching the point where irreversible damage has been done, and we need to avoid this at all costs.
The sea level is rising because of global warming, from 2006 to 2015 the global mean water level in the ocean rose by 0.14 inches (3.6 millimeters) per year, the U.S. The Interagency Sea Level Rise Task Force estimates that global sea level is very likely to rise at least 12 inches (0.3 meters) above 2000 levels by 2100 even on a low-emissions pathway, or 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) above 2000 levels by 2100 on the highest-emission pathway. We can already foresee its harm to future generations.
For the Netherlands, sea level rise is a more pressing issue, since 26% of the country is below mean sea level and 50% is 1 metre below mean sea level. With sea levels varying by 1.5 meters between low tide and high tide, and even more during storms, 59% of the Netherlands is vulnerable to sea flooding. The Netherlands is now not covered by sea water because it has advanced and amazing hydraulic works that keep the country functioning properly with fluctuations in natural sea levels. But the sea level rise due to global warming is not considered in these hydraulic projects, if we do not focus on sustainable development, sea level rise will be out of the current safe range.
The clock is ticking!
We, the younger generation, have an indisputable role to play in this climate crisis. As you have read above, the time to act is now. If our generation does not focus their efforts on becoming more sustainable, the world as we know it might become just a memory.