#Think-Piece: Climate Change and Why We Need to Take Immediate Action

UN IPCC released a new report on Climate Change last week and it has got the whole world talking.

Words: Johanna Raudsepp

By now, I assume most of you have seen the ‘doomsday’ headlines the worldwide press has been bombarding us with lately. To be honest, the impending disastrous changes to weather caused by global warming have been topical since the 70s, but it is today that the issue is more serious than ever. In a nutshell, if we don’t make radical changes right here and now, there will be dire consequences. But what does this report really mean for our planet?

So far, we have been aiming for a maximum 2 degree increase in global temperature. However, the latest report limits the increase to 1.5 degrees - in layman's terms, we need rapid and large-scale changes today or we will overshoot. At the current rate, we’ll overshoot by 2030. That’s in 12 years! To even stand a 50% chance, we need to become carbon neutral by 2050. If not, then picture a world like this: constant heat waves, crops dying and becoming less nutritious, no coral reefs, many common species becoming extinct, no more Arctic ice. The latter is honestly most dangerous because permafrost will release even more methane into the atmosphere, causing an even faster rate of change.

I find it unfortunate that for the world to take climate change seriously, people needed a doomsday warning. The current environmental policies have not been enough. Nevertheless, thanks to the IPCC report, changes are finally happening. For us sustainability enthusiasts, it’s a big win. The Netherlands government took the first step and accelerated their carbon emissions reduction policies just one day after the report was released, setting an example for the whole world. Others now need to follow suit. But there’s plenty we can do as global citizens to take action, without having to wait for lawmakers to get their things together.

One key point to saving the planet is reducing our energy consumption and replacing current energy with green resources. We can start doing that at our homes already by using less energy, as well as using public transport instead of personal combustion-engine vehicles. Another point is reducing meat consumption. I am definitely not one to judge because I’m not strictly a vegetarian. However, I think there is no harm in eating more vegetables, it’s good for our bodies and the environment. What is more, here at Savant, I’ve seen the impact our decisions as citizens can have. I’ve been writing about making more conscious choices with what we buy for years. I believe we can make a change simply by making better purchases. Last but not least, we should not underestimate our unique voice and the power to speak out. I think, if there’s any time to protest and call for action, it is now. Give a call to your local policymakers and urge them to adapt your local environmental policies to not overshoot the 1.5 degree target.

I think the large-scale changes will take some time to take effect, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait for them to happen. They are already taking shape way too rapidly. And to me it seems scary enough. Climate change is very real and is knocking on our doorstep today. That’s why I am drafting these words with a heavy heart - to bring to your attention that a more environmentally friendly life seems to be the one and only option to avoid impending disaster. Collectively, we need to make a change. Don’t be afraid to take the leap and lead some big changes for our planet. Because ultimately actions speak louder than words.

Read the full IPCC report on climate change here.