The coronavirus pandemic compares to climate change like traffic accidents to the AIDS epidemic. The first will kill many people but most people will stay alive, no matter how passive we stay. The latter will kill everyone unless we interfere drastically. A treatment against AIDS was found but it took decades. Climate change is largely ignored by the biggest polluters for 60 years. Some disastrous effects are unavoidable already.
Are we so exhausted about disaster by the coronavirus pandemic and its losses that we will shut our ears even more to climate change that is threatening not just the comfort of future generations but is actually endangering human survival? Or do we finally get the warning that some problems are so big that we must act — like we had to with COVID-19?
COVID-19 was so acute that hundreds of thousands of lives were lost because of hesitating a couple of days, weeks, or months here or there.
Climate change is so acute because we waited for decades. It won’t kill us all in weeks. But it’s going to exterminate us all in a few decades unless we act now. And the deathbed will be long and painful. With billions without food or water. With hurricanes, floods, and forest fires everywhere. There will be hardly any weather pattern left as nature will be taken over by disaster after disaster on a global scale.
Climate change will not be stopped by a sudden invention of a cure as we are awaiting for vis-à-vis cancer. One day, we may have a scientific miracle cure against climate change but we can’t wait and gamble we’ll be alright.
Most people are still passive, not because they don’t care but because they feel powerless. But we are not.
There is much we each can do. And our actions will be decisive. They won’t just save lives — they will save the human species.
But our actions must not be piecemeal. They must be done by massive numbers of people, day after day, in ways that attract others to act too.
- We’ve seen how clean the air became under lockdown. We must rethink the ease at which we decide that we like the comfort of a car above public transportation. We must consider not commuting so much. Can’t we find a job closer to home? Or moves closer to work? Or work from home? Do we really need to travel and have vacations far away? Even if you’ve got the money and it’s legal, do you need to show off to feel good and ignore the consequences? You don’t need to be a world superpower leader to cut down on traffic pollution.
- Seen how terribly COVID-19 patients felt who needed ventilators? We are taking away the world’s lungs by burning forests (and they also stop the hothouse effects by converting CO2 to O2) for making more grasslands for cows. We must rethink the insane amounts of meat and milk many of us are consuming daily. You don’t need to be a world superpower leader to cut down on eating animal produce.
- Each of us must step up (or begin) to reduce waste, reduce our water and energy consumption, scale back consumerism buying stuff we don’t need (just to feel rich) all the time. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s decent or smart. Just because it was OK yesterday doesn’t mean it’s still a good thing. Kick out that TV.
- Much of our run towards the abyss is caused by greed of the super-rich. The ones to stop them are politicians. They’re only as powerful as their populations are activists. If they are for radical climate action, support them by massive frequent demonstrations. If they are uncommitted or against radical climate action, oppose them by massive demonstrations and strikes. Stop ignoring politicians.
- Much of our run towards the abyss is caused by us being exhausted by work and responsibilities we have already. We are tired. But this is an emergency. Who says that we can afford you sitting in front of the TV every night instead of being an activist? Yes, you will be even more tired. But at least you’ll feel good about yourself. Yes, you will make mistakes and waste energy but that’s how we learn. We need to stop the insane amount of entertainment that is going on.
- Activism must be done such that it is contagious. Not as if this is only for a few enlightened souls. The people who work in the car or travel industry are not the enemy. (Their jobs would have been cut by automation soon anyway.) They deserve help, not war. Yes, it is important to take care of your short-term needs and that of your family. Yes, the fights against sexism, world hunger, child abuse, racism, etc. are crucial and exhausting. But they are not enough. Each of us needs to fight against humanity going extinct. ‘I’m already an activist for other causes’ is no excuse. No one is exempt.
- There is much that can be done in a positive way, not just cutting down on ruining the planet. We can also have our politicians invest enormous amounts of money into creating alternative green energy. Once, nuclear energy was the enemy of life and survival. The time may have arrived for clean safe nuclear energy. Nuclear, solar, wind, and tide energies have hardly been harvested. The time is now.
- Stop addictions. Not just (as I explained above) addictions to meat, comfort, consumerism, entertainment, being show-offs, etc. No, we also need to stop drug addictions (including coffee, alcohol, psycho-pharmaceutical junk, etc.) and learn to listen to each other instead. Complain how tired you are, cry, yawn, and get energy that way. How could we fight world pollution well while polluting ourselves?
- Last but not least, we all can show, teach (by example) and demand an end to disrespect. We need respect for all (including self), for all creatures, for nature, the environment, the oceans, the climate. One doesn’t need to be a bigwig to have or receive powers to do that.
There may be no future generations to ask us how come we didn’t do anything. But how do we face ourselves in the mirror today if we do none?
The opening clip was updated with a better short report.