The world is ending, and nobody seems to care.
It is a well-known fact that the world as we know it will be coming to a close within the next century or so if we continue down the road we are on. A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claimed a severe world crisis could even occur as soon as 2040.
When reading this report, some may have expected uproar and pandemonium. Instead, it was a normal day. A few people may have mentioned it briefly, merely stating “this blows” and continuing on with their day. I myself am one of those people, and I bet anyone reading this is too.
For some reason, we don’t care that the world is ending. I know riding a bike vs getting an Uber is the right decision, but I don’t make it. I know I should plant a garden and stop buying overly packaged grocery items, but I don’t. Why? Why can no one change their lifestyles to save our planet?
Humans learn consequences in various ways. Psychologically, we learn best when consequences come immediately after our actions, which is why so many people procrastinate. Of course, it would make more logical sense for someone to do their work as soon as they can so they’ll feel better. They won’t get the reward, however, till they finish the assignment, which takes time. Procrastinating gives an immediate reward of distraction. Therefore, it typically becomes the more desirable course of action.
I think about humans’ reaction to climate change in the same way. Other than some exceptions (Red Tide), there are currently few obviously visible effects of climate change in many regions of the US. I don’t believe anything will change, no matter how hard someone campaigns or fights for it, till climate change starts to personally affect people’s daily lives. As soon as the air becomes too thick to breathe, the water becomes too polluted to drink and the non-renewable energy sources deplete (which is already a reality for some parts of the world), then people will begin to care. The problem is that then it’s too late.
The world is ending, and maybe we care, but we will never do anything to fix it. When a report comes out stating the a severe climate crisis will hit the world in just over two decades and business continues as usual, there’s a problem.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this dark future, then do something. Turn your lights off when you leave the house, take the stairs instead of the elevator, have meatless Mondays, buy local, recycle, save paper, buy produce out of plastic packaging, use less water, don’t use harmful fertilizers on the grass, carpool etc. The list goes on and on. You can do as little or as much as you want. Start with just one of these things a day, then build on it.
When looking at this problem, it seems too big, too overwhelming to deal with, so we bottle it up and procrastinate on saving the world. If we just try to solve this problem in parts, we could actually make a visible difference that can encourage further change. As shown by the boycott of plastic straws, if something is simple with visible results, change will root itself.
The world will eventually end, but you can have say about when. If we all make changes in our lives, then the world will continue. But, if we continue down this path, our Earth will be destroyed within a matter of decades. That choice is up to us.