On March 15th 2019 1.6 million school children took to the streets to demand climate action. It was an unprecedented moment in the history of climate change activism; building on decades of awareness raising and fighting climate change.
Across the globe, action on climate change is accelerating at a tremendous pace; from Extinction Rebellion’s week long blockade of London, to calls for the Green New Deal ricocheting across the globe from the US to Spain. From the increasing number of towns and countries declaring a climate emergency to the tremendous successes of the divestment movement in withdrawing the social license of the fossil fuel industry.
Suddenly, everyone is talking climate; it’s a change that has been a long time coming and we are still just in time to make a difference. But to make that difference, every single one of us needs to get on board in whatever way we can.
We are already seeing unprecedented climate impacts unfold in different parts of the world. This past weekend Africa was hit with a second cyclone in just over a months period since Cyclone Idai made landfall. Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in the north of Mozambique, where there is no previous record of hurricane-force systems ever hitting the region so far north before.
These unfolding tragedies point to the bigger crisis that humanity is faced with.
In October 2018 a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) laid bare the undeniable truth. That we need to take urgent and rapid steps to keep to a 1.5 degree temperature rise. This report could arguably be seen as the catalyst for this current “climate moment” reflecting a new level of urgency.
Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will mean “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in energy sources, infrastructure, industry, and transportation. It means cutting carbon emissions by 45% from 2010 levels in the next decade or so.
If that doesn’t happen, dry regions would be much more likely to experience severe drought, and areas prone to heat waves or intense hurricanes would get more of those disasters, too. Most coral reefs would die, and melting Arctic ice would cause sea levels to rise dramatically. These changes could trigger huge migrations of people and mass extinctions of animals.
Much of the recent push to do something about the climate problem has been spearheaded by young people who will shoulder the burden of a warming planet in the future. They are leading the movement towards a long overdue intersectional future.
Their passion and determination is awe inspiring, but it is not only up to them to make the changes we need. This is an emergency and it’s one that we all need to engage with. While we may not see eye-to-eye with all the methods and messages that an organisation or group may choose to use, we are all learning how to work together for the best possible outcomes.
Right now our collective futures depends on us being able to seize this moment and work together to pushback against the fossil fuel industry fuelling the climate crisis and for long lasting and meaningful change.
350.org like the school strikers, Extinction Rebellion and our many other partners, organisations and supporters across the globe are ramping up action on climate change. Over the coming months across the globe, there will be strikes, walkouts, demonstrations, events and action camps. Sign up to find out more about the latest developments, get involved with 350.org to keep the pressure on.