For decades, scientists have been telling anyone who would listen that humans were changing our climate by pumping carbon into the atmosphere, and that we needed to curb emissions to avoid dire consequences for our food, water, and environment. But Monday’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put it in the most blatant terms to date.
According to the IPCC, we are out of time. In order to avoid impacts of unimaginable proportions, we must initiate “rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” In other words, we need to move off fossil fuels now — just like Food & Water Watch has been advocating for years.
Climate Crises And Conflict Are Already Here
Anyone who has witnessed the supercharged fires, floods, hurricanes, droughts, and other increasing unnatural disasters over the past couple of years can see the impacts of climate change unfolding before our eyes. The IPCC report was released as North Carolina was recovering from Hurricane Florence, which had devastating impacts — exacerbated by the prevalence of factory farms and their open waste cesspools in the state. It was also released just two days before Hurricane Michael ripped through Florida in the third strongest hurricane to hit the mainland U.S. on record. Both of these storms were made stronger and more destructive by our warming atmosphere.
What We Need As A Species Is The Political Courage To Save Ourselves
With Trump in the White House and his rubber-stampers in Congress actively dismantling already weak environmental protections and climate initiatives, some may be tempted to throw their hands up or focus only on personal change. Neither of those actions will save us, but there is reason for hope.
As a country, we have faced major challenges in the past, and have rallied — albeit imperfectly — to move forward. The Great Depression gave rise to the New Deal. The oppression of the Jim Crow era gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement. Rampant pollution — creating unbreathable air and undrinkable water — gave rise to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act.
None of these things happened by accident. They happened because people saw a problem, people organized their communities, people spoke truth to power, people voted, and people held their elected officials accountable. People fought for change, and won. Our faith is in the people — including you — and we think it’s time for everyone to have that faith and do right by each other.
There is a growing movement across the country to move off of fossil fuels and to 100% renewable energy, which is what we must do if people are to have any decent future. There is serious talk of a Green New Deal which must pave the way to the strongest legislation in Congress — legislation that would move us justly and rapidly to 100% renewable energy by 2035, with major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade. It’s the one best path to curb the worst effects of climate change and public opinion is with us: moving to 100% renewable energy is wildly popular.
If Everyone Bands Together To Do This Quickly, The Future Will Change
The IPCC report highlights the urgency and scope of the change we need and it’s telling us something that deep down, most human beings have understood for awhile: there is no liveable future with our current fossil fuel addiction. We have a roadmap with the OFF Act and other anti-fossil fuel initiatives being pursued at the state and local level across the country. Now is not the time to give up or settle for false market schemes that will not address the problem. Now is not the time to push for half measures that might only get us to 100% renewable energy when it is too late.
Now is the time to redouble our efforts to protect our food, water, communities, and climate. Let’s ditch fossil fuels and make renewables happen in time — we need your support for the strongest Green New Deal possible.