It is incredible how many people from normal to celebrities still deny climate change but fortunately, awareness is rising.
Some days ago I took the elevator in our building and it was cold outside. There was this couple in the elevator and I just dropped the comment that it is cold outside. Just some small talk. It was the moment when temperatures dropped to -45°C this year in Chicago. I lost the context but the girl said: „Oh everybody is shouting out when it gets a little cold. I grew up in Kanada and changes in the climate have always existed“. What I want to point out, is that it is not just Donald Trump denying climate change. Normal people also defend our behavior to be decoupled from the current climate change we obviously face and the destabilization of our ecosystem.
Global warming is proven now by scientists. I think we should not just worry about global warming but about cumulation of extreme climate situations and coupled effects.
I have always observed climate as a quite stable system when growing up. By integrating the famous chaotic example of the butterfly in Brazil causing a tornado in Siberia I came to the conclusion that the danger in what we do lays in disturbing the stability of the planets weather system.
Awareness is growing and there are many initiatives to control it, but it looks like the human being is not able to adapt behavior if the situation is not life-threatening
People in first world countries start to limit their emissions by becoming more aware of the carbon footprint on an optional and voluntary basis but will this be enough?
Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely important for all of us to do the most we can in our personal lives to reduce our carbon footprint but as long as it is optional or voluntary it will not be enough as humans are lazy.
On a political level we are facing all climate summits to reach some progress, but at the end of the day, they fail miserably because the biggest nations are not fully committed.
What is the solution?
Let’s be real, we have no clue and the case is more difficult than just taking a shower with cold water and turn off the lights.
This is a drop on a hot stone!
The teen activist Greta Thunberg is right, we are leaving the next generations with the worst heritage while we might still have time to act.
Marching for climate change around the globe is very important but I don’t currently see a real solution about how to trigger the change.
As Bill Gates lays out, the problem of emissions is far more integrated into our world than just by not eating meat and not flying.
Observing our human behavior there is just one solution in my point of view, attached to our way of living and functioning as humans!
We have to find a solution to make a business out of it, where everyone can participate, so there is a real benefit on a personal, institutional and political level to get active.
Driving this from the political side through emission certificates and trade might be part of the solution but it is too far away from our daily lives.
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What can I do on a personal level to actually influence against this change effectively?
It will not be accepted to make people of low- and middle-class pay higher commissions on gas and energy amongst other minor limitations while they feel insecurity concerning their status through job loss and the changing economy. The rich and those who get some wealth keep flying around the planet and don’t care about limiting their behavior, so it will be very difficult to tell the poor to act responsibly.
I was surprised about an article I read in a newspaper her in Switzerland lately, where I found some hope from a side I did not expect. It looks like if investors are getting worried about consequences for their asset allocation if they keep supporting toxic companies by holding their stocks. Taxes and laws might consume profits. The article mentioned Novartis, Nestle, and the asset manager Black Rock are becoming aware of their responsibility while the big players like Apple, Amazon, and Facebook already are on track with their goals. It looks like if investors start to fear sanctions of the companies in their portfolio and require climate goals for the companies to be selected within their portfolio.
Through our technical knowledge, we would be way more advanced concerning the topic if we would have favored an energy change years ago. The big energy producers like Shell, BP and others could have shifted their investments to provide funds for the solar and wind industry. The car companies could have favored alternative energies years ago in their strategies. They could have provoked the construction and acceptance of electricity grids. The airline industry could have focused on technologies to use solar energies for their aircraft like demonstrated by Bertrand Piccard.
Unfortunately, they did not do it by themselves and they need the power of politics and people marching on the streets.
Still, in my point of view, this might not be enough and we need to go deeper to get the turnaround!
How can we identify the real efforts against climate change and let people profit directly?
In my point of view, it will be difficult to limit our mobility by flying less and traveling less by car.
What if I had access to a drone, built of naturally destroyable substances and flying by solar energy to travel from home to a bigger drone hub? Sure we are still some years or decades away from such a model of transportation, while we can think of a variety of similar ideas with trains and self-driving cars. There would be no problem for our environment and we would not need to worry about traveling less.
While many people in our society are still afraid of the tech revolution, Machine Learning and robots I see them as our way to solve the biggest problems we currently face.
Many small initiatives grew over the last years but almost all of them are still fighting for acceptance and proving their true worth, while some can’t stand.
We need more of these initiatives and we need more investments to grow an industry and an ecosystem. At the same time, we need to build a new control structure on a global level to decide, which initiatives are pointing into the right direction and which aren’t.
There are some great initiatives implemented like seeding trees in deforested areas by throwing them to the ground by drones, not just growing monocultures but packing up a variety of different seeds to create a diverse ecosystem. We could also apply this concept to farming, where monocultures still are a problem in many aspects. If we create robots who can handle the examination of different plants in one field and are able to distinguish between the products to be harvested we open up a new space to more sustainable farming.
I am quite convinced that global warming is a bigger threat than we currently imagine and even stronger than most scientists are prognosticating.
The melting of the permafrost tundra in the Arctic is releasing an incredible amount of CO2 gases, while we try to avoid them in the fields where we have the possibility of limiting ourselves.
The affected territories are covered by ice since the last ice-age. Ice conserved all organics inside of the coat it builds. When these organics get released through the melting process they start to decompose. This process of decomposition releases various gases like methane and even more CO2. What we will face is a back coupling reaction and it is very evident, that this will drive the process to the next level.
Besides the gases getting released, ice also conserves many microorganisms from ancient times and we have no idea about the effects they have on our health while being distributed with the water into all territories with access to the sea. We have experienced the epidemic effects when fighting Ebola and the bird flu and we can just guess about the consequences.
The current meltdown of these permafrost regions just started but it is threatening entire cities already. This is just an example of what is starting to happen.
The rising temperatures of the water in the oceans around the globe is a big danger to all animals and microorganisms living in the oceans. Some are very sensible when it comes to a change of temperature, some move into other parts of the oceans while others use their source of food. This is a real threat to diversity as we do depend on the ocean as a source of our food. The case of bees who are dying on the land should be an example of what happens in the oceans.
We know there are very important animals who tie the entire ecosystem together so if they die we might not be able to substitute them. I think we should be very much worried about the biodiversity on our entire planet as I am very certain, there is a reason for it.
Looking at our population living in areas near the sea, this entire discussion gets to a whole new level. We currently face an external migration in many different places due to social problems and we can just adumbrate the intensification of these events when bigger cities with an entire industry and millions of citizens get flooded over the next years.
I hope these thoughts are just conspiracy theory while my brain is analyzing the situation but I think we should not underestimate this threat.
Climate change is a big topic but I think the most important thing to do, is to accept its existence and use all our power to connect people and our knowledge in the information age.
We should not exclude any methods that could help in this process, even if they don’t look scientific at first.
We need everybody in the same boat now!
How can you become active?