Today, as schools close, offices empty and the streets are eerily silent across Europe and indeed the globe, we as a human race are facing not one, but two extremely grave crises.
The first is, of course, that of the coronavirus. The second is one that you might have forgotten about, but it is no less serious. It is the climate crisis – a crisis that for a long time has slipped under the radar, and received very little media attention. 30 years ago James Hansen gave testimony in US Congress about the threat posed by climate change. Last year I attended COP25 – the 25th edition of the annual Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Other than coming up with an almost laughably long acronym, the UNFCCC has achieved very little as regards climate mitigation. The fact remains that despite this being something that we have had substantial evidence to prove for over three, if not four decades, next to nothing has been done.
Over the past 18 months, however, something has changed. Young people such as myself have taken to the streets again and again in a demand for change from world leaders. I personally have been striking every Friday for 6 months in front of my local government building with my sister, and thousands of others across the globe. We strike because we know – from the almost unanimous scientific consensus – that the time that we have left to change things is running out.
Unfortunately, as the coronavirus sweeps the globe, striking has become an impossibility for me. To do so would not only jeopardise my own health, it would also put those around me at risk, and while it is critical to treat the climate crisis as a crisis, it is also critical to treat the coronavirus as a crisis.
This is why I have decided to endeavour to write a climate essay every single weekday for the foreseeable future. Writing is a passion and a hobby of mine, and our voices are the most powerful tool we have in enacting change. When we can no longer raise our voices in streets, as we have before, we must find new and novel ways of making ourselves heard. Climate breakdown won’t catch the coronavirus, and we must be prepared to tackle it once this pandemic has been brought under control. We must also do everything we can to ensure that the media does not simply move on and dismiss the climate crisis, as it has been wont to do before.
I will be covering a different aspect of climate breakdown every day, and I will discuss both my own personal experiences and the scientific and political facts that I have learnt and am learning. I am always open to suggestions, so if you would like to hear my thoughts on something in particular, please do get in touch.