What Will It Take For Us To Save The Planet?

The world burns amid the indecision of politicians

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Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash

As far as we know, the Earth is the only place in the universe that is home to life. Our planet supports a wide variety of animals, plants and bacteria.

Given that we have yet to come into contact with extraterrestrial life, our existence is an anomaly.

We may encounter aliens in the future, but at this moment in time, in the vastness of the universe, we stand alone. Whether that is because of our ignorance, or because we truly are alone, we do not know.

But, it’s an important point regardless.

Earth is the only place we have to live. We cannot migrate to another planet, there isn’t one. Mars does not have a sufficient atmosphere and colonising it will take a global effort that seems to be beyond us.

We are stuck on Earth for the foreseeable future, yet we treat the planet with abandon and recklessness.

The Australian bushfire crisis is a prime example of this. These fires are unprecedented. Large swathes of the continent are on fire, fires so intense that the smoke is causing hazes in New Zealand, 2,000 km away.

We have been warned about climate change over and over again, but our politicians have not heeded this call. They have buried their heads in the sand and prayed that the issue would blow over.

It’s not going to, it’s only going to get worse.

In 2007, the Garnaut Climate Reviews predicted that the bushfire season in Australia would start earlier, end slightly later and be more intense.

The prediction for when this would be observable by?


The prediction was bang on. Another report stated that the frequency of fire danger days would increase by 4 to 20% by 2020. The fires that have been raging since September corroborate this.

This is not speculation anymore, this is reality. The world is on fire and still, our politicians refuse to accept the reality and act.

What will it take for them to act? How many have to be lost? how many homes have to be destroyed? How many animals have to die before we do something?

No Planet B

What baffles me the most about the unwillingness to act on climate change is the fact that the Earth is the only place we can live.

It’s not like we have a variety of planets we can move to. We can’t jump in a spaceship, up sticks and move to a new planet. Earth is the only place we have to live.

Politicians such as Scott Morrison, who seem unwilling to act and unable to accept the mounting evidence that climate change is real and happening are deluded and dangerous.

The longer we wait, the worse things will get. 2019 saw a swathe of temperature records in countries around the world. If you look at the data, the majority of the hottest years on record are in the 21st century.

It’s not a coincidence anymore. Pumping huge volumes of carbon into the atmosphere is going to have an impact. This is not a cycle the Earth is going through.

Those warming periods occurred without the aid of human intervention. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, it’s not hard to work out what happens when you pump millions of tonnes of it into the atmosphere every year.

We are stewards of the planet and we are doing a terrible job. It’s a typical human response to a problem. We are not long-term thinkers by nature.

Unless we are faced with an immediate threat we are likely to delay taking action. That attitude is catching up with us and we are paying the penalty for the decades of inaction over the issue.

The protection of our planet should be our number one issue since it is the only place we can live. Without the Earth we have nothing. Without the Earth, we will be nothing.

Whatever happens, the Earth will still be here. Whether we act or continue to ignore the warnings, the Earth ill still go round the sun. The same cannot be said for humanity.

Our greatest trait is our ability to adapt and innovate our way out of problems. We are going to need all of this ingenuity if we are to right the errors we have made in regards to our energy consumption.

The Price of Inaction

If we do not take the threat of climate change, the consequences are not worth thinking about. Millions of people will become homeless, wildlife will struggle to survive and humanity will face life on a planet that will come to resemble our neighbour Venus.

The fires that are plaguing Australia and the fires that hit the Amazon, California and Siberia are a sign of things to if change doesn’t happen and fast.

If record temperatures and frequent bushfires don’t cause politicians and the public alike concern, then we are in trouble.

What has to happen before we take the issue seriously? How much of the world has to burn before we realise climate change is an existential threat?

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Life is precious, our world is home to an abundance of it. As the dominant species on the planet, we must care for the environment not destroy it.

Sooner or later, reality will hit home and it will hit hard. How will future generations judge us in years to come? What will they make of our inability to act on the biggest issue of our time?

If not now, then when? When will the climate issue move from the background into the foreground? It’s a troubling question and one that we may have to ponder for a while longer.

If the scenes in Australia do not provoke a strong response then I’m not sure what will. The world is burning in ignorance and it may continue for a whole lot longer.

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I like to write. I like to travel. https://www.thetravellingtom.com Join my email list -> https://tomstevenson.substack.com/

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