“Yeah, it’s bloody hot, but the Indian Ocean is cold, the sea breeze will come in, and anyway it’s a dry heat, right?” But this summer’s record-breaking temperatures should firmly end any romantic association we have with 40°C plus days. Climate change is not something to worry about as a future hypothetical. It is here and now. We are seeing temperatures that forced kids to stay inside for days on end, subjecting outdoor workers to unbearable conditions, and putting older people at higher risk of health consequences or even death. What’s the big deal, you ask? Surely a few more hot days here and there can be managed with good air conditioning and careful planning.
The reality is that the climate crisis is the biggest global threat to human rights we have seen in our lifetime. Global heating causing rising sea levels and massive food shortages could drive hundreds of millions of people from their homes. Conflicts over increasingly scarce resources could fuel violence, virulent nationalism, and authoritarian rule. Governments capacity to protect the rights of the most at-risk populations could be severely strained and, in many places, broken. Our ability to avert this dystopian future depends on our leaders today acting boldly—and quickly—to massively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The knowledge and technology to prevent the worst outcomes of a warming planet already exist. We should all gain the courage to speak out on climate change, demand an end to government support and funding for new oil, gas and coal projects, and decarbonize our lives. I want to look back at this time and know I did all I could for my kids to have a liveable planet. Will you join me?.
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