Hello Henny Penny
Little recap on Chicken Little: According to Wikipedia, Henny Penny, more commonly known in the United States as Chicken Little and sometimes as Chicken Licken, is a European folk tale with a moral about a chicken who believes the world is coming to an end. The phrase “The sky is falling!” is featured prominently in the story, and has passed into the English language as a common idiom indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent.
Welcome to my world. There are some days, in fact, quite a few days of late, that I feel like Chicken Little. I want to let people know that the sky really IS falling and ask them why they won’t listen to me. I want to go knocking on doors and approach people on the street and in stores and shout from rooftops “We’ve only got 12 years to change the world. Climate change is not coming, it’s here. If we don’t hurry up and lower our carbon emissions, millions of us are going to die.” But I don’t do any of those things even though I know that disaster is imminent if things don’t change and this is not a hysterical or mistaken belief. It’s the truth and I have known it for a long time.
The Sky is Falling
Fortunately for us, on October 8th, 2018, a team of 91 scientists from 40 countries published a report that analyzed over 6,000 scientific studies and affirmed what I’ve known all along. The sky IS falling – in a manner of speaking. The report, issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), states that we basically have 12 years left to make some drastic and immediate changes to combat the damage already done to this great planet of ours, or hundreds of millions of people may be irreversibly imperiled by drought, flooding, extreme heat and increased poverty in the decades to come. In short, scientists and climate researchers warned us that we must figure out how to reduce greenhouse gases that will limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. A 2-degree-Celsius rise, which we are well on our way to reaching, is considered by scientists as the threshold for the most severe effects of climate change.
So how can we stop the sky from falling? Trust me when I say it’s not going to be easy and we have to start about 5 years ago! According to several articles I read, there’s no way to hit the 1.5-degree target without REMOVING carbon dioxide from the air.According to an October 2018 article found on VOX.COM, “Cutting greenhouse gas emissions sharply enough to reach the more ambitious climate mitigation goal requires a massive global shift in energy use. The pathways outlined in the report aren’t counting on any magical technologies that don’t yet exist; the greenhouse gas mitigation pathways use systems we have now. But they do require deploying them at massive, unprecedented scales. In particular, the 1.5°C goal will require sucking carbon dioxide out of the air, even if the planet doesn’t overshoot its carbon budget.” Massive, unprecedented scales? Quick, someone write to the President of the United States and let him know climate change is real, it’s happening, and that he better hurry up and lead the charge to lower our greenhouse gas emissions – not reopen the coal mines!
What is the Difference between 1.5C and 2C?
At this point, might you be asking yourself what possible difference there could be between 1.5C and 2C. The answer? A huge difference. At 1.5C the proportion of the global population exposed to water stress could be 50% lower than at 2C, the IPCC report notes. Food scarcity would be less of a problem and hundreds of millions fewer people, particularly in poor countries, would be at risk of climate-related poverty.
At 2C extremely hot days, such as those experienced in the northern hemisphere this summer, would become more severe and common, increasing heat-related deaths and causing more forest fires. We have seen evidence of that already. People are dying from the heat and are literally being burned to death in their homes – right here in the good old US of A.
PLEASE READ THIS PARAGRAPH AT LEAST TWICE: The greatest difference would be to nature. Insects, which are vital for pollination of crops, and plants are almost twice as likely to lose half their habitat at 2C compared with 1.5C. Corals would be 99% lost at the higher of the two temperatures, but more than 10% have a chance of surviving if the lower target is reached. Isn’t hard to even get your head around these numbers? Twelve more years to turn this earth ship around and the clock is ticking.
We Can. Count You In?
It is abundantly clear that the decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future. The next few years are, without question, the most important in our history. The IPCC report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. And that is a good thing.
But what can you do, or I do, or we do to help the planet and its inhabitants survive? We can educate ourselves, get to know our local, statewide and national legislators and find out where they stand on climate change and combating it. Hold the policymaker’s feet to the fire. Vote them out if they are not loud, vocal, intelligent voices for change. Find our voices. Raise our voices. Believe that the sky is, indeed, falling and that we can help prop it up. We must be the change we wish to see in the world because if we don’t, that world will change dramatically, drastically and maybe even permanently within the next twelve years. It’s hard to even fathom that so let’s make a big ruckus before it’s too late.
Count me in.
From about the age of five, Gina has been on the path of being a disruptor for good. A dreamer at heart, Gina is madly and passionately in love with this great planet of ours and is tireless in her efforts to preserve it.