Read our thoughts on how the global reaction to COVID may help us to figure out our next moves when it comes the fight against climate change.
By Frankie Phillips
The situation we’re in now is so urgent it’s taken ALL of our attention. With our governments scrapping around trying to put out fires, the fight against climate change has taken a backseat. It makes me think, are we in the terrible habit of being more reactive than proactive? Examples such as South Korea being far better equipped for this virus clearly show that preparation is key and listening to scientists is vital. For years we’ve known something like this would happen. Even Bill Gates did interviews about this exact situation (and he hates interviews, so we know he means business). Will history repeat itself when it comes to climate change? Will we suddenly be in a mad panic to fix our world overheating and land disappearing despite having had decades to stop it?
This lockdown has me thinking more about whether this virus tragedy will encourage us to change the way we live for the better. Or will it create a desperate need for our economy to resume ‘business as usual’ so even more bad habits are picked up?
The words ‘Climate change’ carry an aura of complexity. It seems climate change must be terribly complicated and difficult if governments aren’t doing anything about it and it’s taken scientists decades to even get people to listen. But actually the summary is pretty basic to understand.
The earth is surrounded by a thin layer of gases, this stops some of the earth’s heat energy radiating out into space, keeping us at a nice comfortable temperature. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour play key roles in retaining this heat energy, without which the earth would be about -18c (eeek!). However, the problem is, we humans are producing more and more greenhouse gases which keeps inside too much warmth, resulting in global warming.
There’s of course a lot more to climate change than global warming. Another example is ocean acidification (which is a lowering of the oceans PH value). Roughly one-third of our carbon dioxide is absorbed by our oceans. With carbon dioxide levels now so high this forms a weak acid mixed in warmer waters, causing the disappearance of ecosystems such as the coral reef. What happens in our oceans has a direct implication to our life on land - the warmer the oceans get the more energy is given to hurricanes and other fierce weather systems that can lay waste to our towns and cities.
Our behaviour needs to change to stop global warming. We have already hit a point of no return. However, we can stop it from getting worse. We don’t need to burn fossil fuels for energy, we have other options. These options may not make people as rich, but it will make people and the environment healthier.
“Unlike COVID, climate change is not yet directly affecting Number 10 Downing street”
Unlike COVID, climate change is not yet directly affecting Number 10 Downing street. But just because we can’t see the threat with our eyes this doesn’t mean it’s not coming. Extreme weather in Australia was the cause of the fires that ripped apart homes and took hundreds of lives. However, their leader is still working with the largest producer of fossil fuels - the direct cause of that disaster.
How does this link to our current pandemic crisis? Viruses such as COVID are formed in mass farming facilities and wild animal markets where bacteria and cross contamination is rife. If mass animal farming continues, another pandemic will happen. And until government decisions are made for the good of the country instead for financial gain, climate change will continue.
There’s no point in being the richest man on earth if there’s no earth to live on.
“There’s no point in being the richest man on earth if there’s no earth to live on.”
Sending you all love during this time,