‘Every second counts’

Humanity needs to put more effort into preventing climate change


6 years, 357 days, 18 hours, 53 minutes and 30 seconds. That is the amount of time left before that damage bestowed upon the precious planet Earth is deemed irreversible according to Climate Clock.

The clock, created by a team of leading scientists, coders, activists, designers and technophiles, counts down the amount of time until our global temperature reaches 1.5 degrees Celsius, a critical point in our history where global warming and climate change will become irreversible.

Now, no clock is entirely accurate, but they do have similar data, all ranging from six to 10 years, and considering human impact on the environment throughout the years, it is most likely pretty precise.

This is frightening, and it should scare everyone into taking action to protect the planet. It can be hard to take action individually, which is why it is a group effort.  Everyone should be doing their part in reducing climate change and becoming more environmentally conscious.

This can be as simple as reusing leftovers, fixing broken items before tossing them in the trash, using reusable bags or buying locally sourced products, according to Clean Water Action. Families can compost, recycle, garden and go as plant-based or vegetarian as possible. 

However, it’s not just simple changes by people living average lives that need to be made. 

Coal, oil and gas, as claimed by United Nations, account for over 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and almost 90 percent of CO2 emissions. Both of these emissions are heavy contributors to climate change. 

Those three main fossil fuels contribute plenty to society, as Coal India, for example, provides 84% of India’s thermal coal according to Brookings. But, their damage outweighs their good. 

The top 10 coal companies, from Coal India to Peabody Energy, emit 8.059 to 43.104 gross tonnes of CO2. The top 10 oil and gas companies, from Gazprom to Navotek, emit 3.928 to 44.069 gross tonnes of CO2, according to Fossil Free.

However, while large companies are a major part of the problem, individuals and their personal wealth have more of an impact on climate change than national wealth, according to Impakter.

Through the World Inequality Lab, they found that the richest 10 percent in East Asia emit 40 tonnes of CO2 per year and that of America emits an overwhelming 70 tonnes of CO2 per year. 

But, what’s so bad about CO2?

It can have a lot of effects on the planet, but a pressing one is CO2 trapped in our atmosphere. This increases temperatures and negatively impacts living conditions of all living organisms, as stated by NASA. It has arguably one of the biggest impacts on climate change.

And even though CO2 damage has been happening for a while, it has a limit. Yale states that scientists have numbers ranging from 100 to 500 billion tons. Just in 2019, the global CO2 emission, according to USGS, was 33,621.5 million tons.

Emission numbers need to decrease if people are going to avoid the inevitable carbon limit.

Yes, America makes up for the most pollution, and a small group of rich people have a greater impact on this, but it’s still a global problem. Following right behind are Russia, Central Asia and Europe when it comes to ecofootprints and emissions.  

Therefore, there needs to be a massive global effort to stop this. 

So, no. Earth will not be “fine.” Society will not be “fine.”

People can no longer sit by and not make the small, individual changes that are necessary. Change may not be noticed immediately or it may be annoying to some to do this, but the clock is ticking on the repair of the planet.

Change in economic and government systems needs to be encouraged, demanded even. Change is needed.

It can be infuriating to advocate for change and things only get worse. It’s scary to think about the future when it may not even happen.

There are now 6 years, 324 days, 15 hours, 6 minutes and 50 seconds left. And every second counts.