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Why our weather is showing need for climate action

3 September, 2021
By Erin Rice

Erin Rice, a volunteer from  The Arkbound Foundation , explains how individual action is key to tackling climate change, and how community voices can make a big impact.

The reporting of extreme global weather events in the past few weeks has been bleak to say the least. The news has been littered with articles and footage surrounding the mass climate devastation which has forced public discussion about the role of climate change in relation to this. In 2021 alone, we have seen extreme fires in California, Siberia, Greece, and Turkey, devastating flooding in China and Germany and heat waves and record drought across the US. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report only cemented these signals, with the report hailing code red in climate action nearly being gone, but crucially not yet.

A key component of the latest report was the links between human activity and changing climate. It concluded that some greater weather extremes can be traced back to emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly from countries and corporations burning fossil fuels which are causing greater weather extremes and rising average temperatures and thus increasing levels of drought, extreme heat, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires.

The IPCC report makes direct links between human activity and these natural disasters, hailing that: “Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.”

It is easy to understand “human activity” on an individual basis, and for years we have been told to change our personal habits: recycle, take shorter showers or the latest recommendation to “stop rinsing plates before putting them in the dishwasher” but these individual choices are dwarfed by the actions of corporations and companies: recent studies have shown that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. With this, individual efforts can sometimes feel futile.

Though the news invokes feelings of dread and hopelessness, it is crucial to remember that we can change the course of this. Sweeping changes simply aren’t possible without government intervention and many factors such as poverty constrain the choices many people can make in the first place. So, what can individuals do to avoid hurtling towards this outlined “code red”?

Experts say we are not completely powerless; the answer is anything. Big or small, individual efforts of adaptation and building community support networks are essential in aiding the avoidance of total climate devastation.

The movement towards tackling climate change is compounded in rallying communities and empowering individuals to understand that a system shift to grassroots and local networks is essential. So much of making sure you don’t become paralyzed by fear and the reality of climate change is to balance understandings of larger scale global system change that has to occur with small scale local grassroots action. The two of these together complement each other and are entirely essential because otherwise we just burnout. When we see fast paced change and build local resilient community projects it creates energy and inspiration to start creating an alternative future.

Climate change is one of the greatest humanitarian crises ever faced and the escalating collapse of our life support systems means we should be confronting it with everything we have. The longer we wait to take action, the more ecosystems, wildlife, homes, and communities will be lost. We are not powerless and the key to fighting despair is to think beyond the individual and seek community support and solutions. Everyone’s capabilities are different, and thus it is important to find the ways to fight climate change in ways which work for your lifestyle and within your means.

The Arkbound Foundation’s upcoming publication, ‘Climate Adaptation: Accounts of Resilience, Self-Sufficiency and Systems Change’ showcases real sustainable alternatives to the current socio-economic model of extraction and exploitation of people and the environment, in order to provide a constructive and informative vision of a positive future. Through this publication, we would like to provide a blueprint of adaptation for the future through a resource which will empower readers to take actionable steps towards a more sustainable future.

Sign up to our first book launch here, which is a part of Climate Fringe Week.

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