Updated: Mar 17, 2019
After the reports released in October 2018 by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, I experienced many unsettling feelings and asked myself: how can we remain hopeful during such times? To refuse to call it a climate "crisis" is unrealistic and dangerously comfortable. We need to call it what it is so that we may act accordingly and with haste.
Greta Thunberg, 16 year old climate activist from Sweden and the inspiration behind the #fridaysforfuture #climatestrike global youth movement (more on that below!), says:
"I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act as if you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire. Because it is"
- Greta Thunberg at the World Economic Forum on January 25th, 2019
This quote gives me chills every time. The report emphasizes the importance of maintaining global temperatures from increasing more that 1.5 degrees Celsius. It states that at our current rate of temperature increase, it is likely that global warming will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052.
It describes the trends in intensity and frequency of climate and weather extremes that have already been detected. Additionally, impacts on natural and human systems, as well as changes in land and ocean ecosystems, have already been observed. According to the report, some impacts, including the loss of some ecosystems, may be long-lasting or irreversible.
This biocultural information is crucial to my well being as a young person and the way I imagine my own and my Community's future livelihood. It is unavoidable to feel fear and anxiety about this, if you are alive.
We are irrevocably related to the Earth. We are the Earth. And we are deeply impacted psychologically by the persistent bad news of climate change and ecosystem degradation. Even if you have not registered the impacts of environmental stress or "ecological grief" on a conscious level, your body, on a subconscious survival-instinct level, has.