(Written on day 16 of climate hunger strike outside of the American Petroleum Institute in Washington, DC)
It is difficult not to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the tasks which lie before us as a species and the limited time that we have to complete them.
The global warming, climate change, and ocean acidification caused by greenhouse gas emissions (GHG’s) are, of course, a dire existential threat which we must neutralize almost immediately to avoid a future of widespread species extinction, famine, drought, and ever-worsening natural disasters.
What is more troubling, however, is that the consequences of our GHG emissions are only one of many seemingly intractable trends which we must change for our children to inherit a world which will sustain them the way that it sustains us.
Population growth and global poverty, inextricably linked, will lead to an overpopulated and overtaxed planet likely to be rife with conflict as resources grow increasingly scarce.
Deforestation and desertification around the world, and particularly in the Amazon Rainforest, threaten to wreck the well-being of the entire world’s ecosystem, wiping out an extraordinary amount of our world’s biodiversity, leaving vast regions facing severe droughts, and causing countless other forms of harm to humanity.
The destruction of soil by erosion, and the death of topsoil as a consequence of pesticide use are both expanding trends which will lead to the eradication of millions of acres of arable farmland and make it a great deal more difficult for humanity to produce a quantity of food anywhere near what we produce today.
The trends which tend towards severe and permanent harm to our planet and our collective existence are too numerous to mention here, but there is certainly one characteristic shared among all of them: urgency.
Let’s get serious and get this greenhouse gas business out of the way now so we can begin the equally difficult tasks of dealing with coming water shortages, destruction of soil, growing over-population exacerbated by poverty and gender inequality, and the destruction of ecosystems around the world.
To all of those who understand our situation as a species but have not yet considered taking action, please understand: we are all activists. With the entire world at stake and no time to lose, we can not sit on the sidelines and hope that a movement arises and succeeds. If we continue to read the news and shake our heads in sadness without stepping up to begin guiding events ourselves, the direction of history will be dictated by industries working against the interests of all of us.
The time has come for a global movement to arise which is unlike anything the world has ever seen: a movement to give our children a future like our parents gave us. There can be no watching this movement as a spectator, because all of our lives depend on it’s success.
Humanity has it within us to rise to the challenge, but that’s going to have to mean every single one of us.
This includes me, and this includes you.