Your stomach starts to rumble. You groan. The pangs of hunger are back, and with a vengeance too. You try to ignore the desperate calls of your body for sustenance, but you know you can provide it nothing. You look across the desolate landscape, praying for an answer, a way out, hope. A static crackle can be heard struggling to emanate out of the small radio you recently managed to salvage. You jump with a start, rushing over to fiddle with the antenna, desperately trying to maintain the weak signal you do have. This has been the first sign on activity for weeks, but your fingers don’t seem to have the energy to move. In frustration you push the radio off the table, it crashes to the floor, the sound only a glimpse into what you feel. Others rush into the room, disheveled and weak but concerned nonetheless. Nothing is said, but all is understood, as they painstakingly walk back to the corners of the shack from which they came. It has been a month since the widespread famine had begun. Nothing would grow, everything was dying. The outside has become too hot for daily life to proceed as normal and the smartest of the individuals tunneled underground. However, clean water sources are few and far between and resources are extremely limited. Only the extremely well off have been able to survive. Then, there is everybody else. I never believed that the end of the world would happen before my very eyes, yet here we are, clinging to the edge of death, praying it come sooner than later, to release us from this hell, that we created, and I can’t help but ask, “How did we get here?”
Believe it or not, global warming is a huge issue. Those who don’t believe it’s getting worse better get with the program. Some of the smartest people we can claim to our human existence are convinced we have reached, or have nearly reached the point of no return. A 2013 report was published which supports this notion. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that scientists are more certain than ever of the link between human activities and global warming. More than 197 international scientific organizations agree that global warming is real and has been caused by us.Why people choose not to take this seriously is beyond me. I do have a theory though. I personally believe as humans we are selfish, and have put ourselves at the pinnacle of everything. I believe this was our first fatal mistake and now, instead of realizing and accepting we have made a mistake in our convention, we ignore the problem and pretend it does not exist. I believe the state of our environment is a direct reflection of what we have become, no longer human, but something more sinister, dare I say monsters. If we do not take responsibility and fix what we have created, we are in store for the worst horror movie of all, and there is no surviving it.
We have only one home and are subjecting it to extraordinary stress. We cannot order another earth on Amazon, as much as I wish we could, we can’t. Todd Stern, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a distinguished fellow at the World Resources Institute writes, “Civilizations have disappeared because they lacked the wherewithal to both recognize and address looming environmental crises. Yet the solutions we need are at hand. We can be defeated by the greed of those who know better but cant walk away from the next dollar; by apathy; by the demagogues whose only objective is to score points, get ratings, get paid. Or we can recognize the stakes, we can learn and discuss, we can vote, and march, and rise to meet this challenge.”
So what do we do? Well I’m glad you asked. It took us so long to get to where we are now, and change will not and cannot happen over night, however, we have to start picking up the pieces to our broken world. Here is how we can start:
1. Speak up!
What’s the single biggest way you can make an impact on global climate change? We need to talk to each other, our friends and family, and make sure our representatives are making good decisions. By voicing our concerns—via social media or, better yet, directly to your elected officials—you send a message that you care about the warming world. Encourage Congress to enact new laws that limit carbon emissions and require polluters to pay for the emissions they produce. You can help protect public lands, stop offshore drilling, fracking and more here.
2. Power your home with renewable energy.
Choose a utility company that generates at least half its power from wind or solar and has been certified by Green-e Energy, an organization that vets renewable energy options. If you can’t do that, there is still a role for you other than being benched, pay attention to your electric bill; many utilities now list other ways to support renewable sources on their monthly statements and websites. Take their advice, you’ll probably save some money too. Who doesn’t want extra money?
3. Invest in energy-efficient appliances.
Since they were first implemented nationally in 1987, efficiency standards for dozens of appliances and products have kept 2.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the air. That’s about the same amount as the annual carbon pollution coughed up by nearly 440 million cars. Energy efficiency is the lowest-cost way to reduce emissions so when you’re out shopping for refrigerators, washing machines, and other appliances, look for the Energy Star label. It will tell you which are the most efficient.
4. Reduce water waste.
Saving water reduces carbon pollution, too. That’s because it takes a lot of energy to pump, heat, and treat your water. So take shorter showers, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, and switch to WaterSense-labeled fixtures and appliances. The EPA estimates that if just one out of every 100 American homes were retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, about 100 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year would be saved—avoiding 80,000 tons of global warming pollution.
5. Actually eat the food you buy—and make less of it meat.
10 percent of our energy use goes into growing, processing, packaging, and shipping food—about 40 percent of which just winds up in the landfill. If you waste less food, you’re likely cutting down on energy consumption. Major key alert: livestock products are among the most resource-intensive to produce, so eating more meat-free meals can make a big difference, a huge difference, not only for our environments, but for our collective health.
6. Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle.
Gas-smart cars, such as hybrids and fully electric vehicles, save fuel and money. And once all cars and light trucks meet 2025’s clean car standards, which means averaging 54.5 miles per gallon, they’ll be a mainstay. For good reason: Relative to a national fleet of vehicles that averaged only 28.3 miles per gallon in 2011, Americans will spend $80 billion less at the pump each year and cut their automotive emissions by half. Before you buy a new set of wheels, compare fuel-economy performance here.
7. Rethink planes, trains, and automobiles.
Choosing to live in walkable smart-growth cities and towns with quality public transportation leads to less driving, less money spent on fuel, and less pollution in the air. Less frequent flying can make a big difference, too.
The earth deserves better than what we are dishing out. Come tribe, let us take responsibility for our brothers, our sisters and ourselves and fix this mess we created. We all will be thanking ourselves later when we are alive to tell the tale.
Until next time tribe,