Environment

2018 Was The Year We Could No Longer Pretend Climate Change Wasn’t Happening


No matter how much or how little attention you pay to climate change, there seem to be more and more moments lately when it becomes impossible to ignore the harsh reality of what we’re facing. 2018 was no exception.

 

So, in case you missed any of this year’s doomy drama, here are some of the times when reality bit down hard.

When climate change threatens our most favourite ‘necessities’

Okay, so you’ve probably heard at least a little about how climate change will have an impact on our food and beverages, such as the fact that wine regions around the world would do best if they migrate to cooler regions.

But this year we also found out that the extreme weather of climate change could cause huge global beer shortages, and there were also rumours that chocolate could become extinct.

That’s it. Hold my beer – we’ve got to save the chocolate!

When even flat-Earthers believe it’s happening

While science comprehension may not be the greatest strength of the people who identify as ‘Flat Earthers’, even they can see climate change is real, and a serious threat.

This somehow manages to be both hilarious and horrifying at the same time.

When David Attenborough stood up for us

Sir David Attenborough has long been admired for his incredible ability to connect people to the natural world through his documentaries. He’s inspired countless people like us to appreciate the marvels of nature; but some have expressed disappointment at the minimal attention he’s directed to the degradation of this amazing world.

This year, Attenborough stepped up on this issue, by representing the people of the world at UN climate talks.

 

When it became clear just how long ago we could have started doing something about this

The realisation that 2018 marks 30 years since climate change became big news was certainly not a pleasant one. Nor was the reminder that scientists have been warning about the potential for CO2 to mess up our biosphere since much, much earlier – in 1912, the consequences of burning coal were predicted in a New Zealand newspaper.

These seem like great dates to keep in mind just in case anyone manages to invent time travel. Maybe a message from the future would have spurred us into action much sooner?

When our politicians made it obvious how little they care

From censoring references to climate change on government websites, to outlawing sea level rise science – some politicians are still going to great lengths to pretend the breakdown of our planet’s climate system isn’t happening.

Yet at the same time, these administrations are factoring in a disastrous 7 degrees Fahrenheit (3.9 degrees Celsius) of warming in their official reports. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Every time we heard about the latest devastating impact on the world around us

In a preview of our potential hothouse future, record breaking heatwaves swept across the northern hemisphere during the summer this year, bringing along unprecedented droughts and wildfires.

One of Europe’s droughts even uncovered dire warnings from depths of history, about the hardships to come when conditions get this severe.

 

Meanwhile, all this extra heat is also stuffing up turtle sex ratios, knocking animals out of sync with their food sources, weakening the gulf stream, changing the arctic water chemistry…. you get the picture.

To top that all off, the latest IPCC report made it frighteningly clear that the consequences scientists have been incessantly trying to warn us about are happening both harsher and faster than we realised they would.

“The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” said IPCC co-chair Debra Roberts. No pressure, guys. 

When school students started to rise up around the world

“The waters are rising, and so are we,” a banner declared at the School Strike for Climate in Melbourne, and 2018 certainly has seen a wave of young people rising up to demand action on climate change.

Earlier this year, Sweden’s Greta Thunberg started a solo strike to demand politicians listened to the science of climate change. This inspired students around the world, leading to similar protests in countries including in the US, Japan, Germany and Australia.

And while politicians have tried their best to dismiss and belittle young people’s efforts to ignite change, the young folk are having none of that.

Hopefully their energy and determination will help boost real action on climate change in 2019.

But if we’re serious about making any meaningful progress, we’ve all got to back these kids up and treat climate change like the planetary crisis that it truly has become.

 





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