It’s not too late to save the world

boy in wellies collecting rubbish from a river
It’s easy to get lost in all the noise around climate change, but there are some really crucial things happening right now, and we should be paying attention. The latest IPCC reports from the UN were released earlier this year, and there was some scary news – we aren’t on track to curb global warming. In fact, according to the report, we have less than 3 years to stop rising emissions, and less than a decade to cut them in half if we are to ensure a ‘livable future’. That’s an incredibly short period of time, and it puts us at possibly the most crucial crossroads that we’ve ever faced. The big question is: which direction are we going to take?

The apathy problem

A large proportion of people will likely see the situation as hopeless. Many won’t care and will dismiss it as sensationalist news. Worryingly, the fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries (amongst many others) are often even working to convince people that the situation is hopeless in the pursuit of commercial growth.

We need to remember that there really is hope of saving the world from complete climate catastrophe. We can achieve some extraordinary things when we all work towards a common goal, and sometimes in much shorter time frames than you might have thought possible.

Change is possible when we work together

The ozone crisis is an example of collective action making an incredible impact to protect our planet. In fact, what the international community did was so effective that you probably haven’t even heard about the ozone layer in years. A global ban on CFCs (a type of gas that was used in many consumer products) was agreed through the Montreal Protocol, which stopped an atmospheric chain reaction that was serious enough to be a threat to all life on our planet.

“In the face of a triple planetary crisis – climate, nature and pollution – the Montreal Protocol is one of the best examples we have that showcases the positive and powerful outcome of multilateralism.” Meg Seki, Executive Secretary of UNEP’s Ozone Secretariat.

The cost of renewable energy is another great example of rapid progress in sustainability. Over the last 10 years, wind energy has become 3 times cheaper to produce, and solar energy is a staggering 10 times cheaper. This trend is set to continue as the technology develops and becomes increasingly accessible worldwide.

The power of individual choice

The power of individuals mustn’t be underestimated. The effects of small choices by consumers are also growing in scale and impact. Google Trend data shows us that global interest in ‘sustainable products’ has shot up in the last few years, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

We have to remember that as consumers, if we can collectively champion products and services that have a net positive impact on our planet, we can change entire industries and government policies. We just need to start today.

“We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming.”IPCC Chair, Hoesung Lee