Alliance Of Scientists Issues 6-Step Call To Combatting Climate Change
The reality of climate change and its looming disastrous effects are apparent to many, many people across the world. At this point, scientists’ warnings are no longer calls for attention, but instead calls for action. A number of human activities contribute to this problem, yet these are, crucially, solvable. Climate change is perhaps the most important issue facing the world as a whole in that it affects (or soon will) every existing being—humans, plants, and non-human animals alike.
A recent letter issued by a group of scientists and, at the time of writing, nearly 12,000 signatories, outlines specific actions available to individuals and governments to minimize—or in some optimistic cases, reverse—the worst effects of climate change.
To this end, the letter urges six critical courses of action:
- To swiftly and totally divest from fossil fuels by transitioning to renewables, leaving remaining fossil fuel reserves in the ground, helping poorer countries make this shift, and make the cost of carbon intolerable to consumers.
- To reduce the emission of methane, soot, and hydrofluorocarbons, savings potentially millions of lives, reducing near-term warming by up to 50%, and increasing crop yields—simply by limiting air pollution.
- To protect nature and its resources. Specifically, the authors demand habitat protection and restoration by designating new and wide areas as protected habitat, limiting loss of biodiversity, and doubling down on efforts to protect natural carbon sinks (such as old-growth forests, reefs, and rivers).
- Perhaps most importantly to animal advocates, to drastically lower our consumption of animals, in particular ruminants (i.e. farmed animals that digest grass by fermenting it in their stomach, such as cows, sheep, and goats). Of no surprise to animal advocates supporters, this call would not only reduce methane emissions and increase soil carbon, it also carries significant moral implications by combatting speciesism and furthering a more ethical global ecosystem.
- To redirect economic goals from maximizing GDP growth to creating and supporting sustainable human systems and protecting the natural environment. Moreover, we should strive to guarantee a higher quality of life for all global citizens and reemphasize the importance of the health of the planet as a measure for overall quality of life.
- To stabilize and eventually reduce the global human population while being mindful of how this may affect people of varying means differently. Specifically, the authors call for a reduction in the addition of 80 million people per year to the biosphere, yet to pay extremely careful attention to how this demand is enacted. A history of racism thrust upon much of the global south could be revived if wealthier nations are not cautious in how they promote this pursuit.
In sum, although this letter is written as a dire warning, the contributing authors are optimistic. National as well as grassroots movements are happening and ecocide lawsuits are gaining traction. Nonetheless, this letter is directed not solely at governments but also individuals. In the battle to save our planet, each person plays a crucial role.