A leak in an underwater gas pipe sparked a swirling fire that raged for hours in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, creating a biblical scene that drew comparisons to Mordor, the volcanic hellscape from “The Lord of the Rings.” https://t.co/3zOzOkv0Hm
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 3, 2021
This year is a tough one for climate change deniers, as we can literally see it happening in front of our eyes.
As a European, I was shocked to hear about the tornado that killed five people in the Czech Republic. Tornadoes kill people (I knew that before), but normally, in Europe, we don’t have tornadoes.
Then heard from my colleague in Canada about a heatwave. I repeat, my colleague from Canada.
And if that wasn’t enough, during my days off, I see a picture of the Gulf of Mexico on fire. The ocean was literally on fire. What else does it take for climate change deniers to give up on fossil fuels?
I always knew that oil platforms in the ocean are not the best for the environment, but this accident is clearly showing how important it is to shift away from burning fossil fuels as soon as possible.
“The Green New Deal” is not a communist manifesto (as Marjorie Taylor Greene claims); it is common sense. The Paris climate agreement is not a threat to the American economy; it’s the last chance of saving the planet—it’s pretty simple: no planet, no economy.
But still, there are folks who completely disagree with the fact that human behavior is causing climate change. I wonder if it has anything to do with the oil industry being one of the biggest cash cows of capitalism? I wonder if the folks who actively deny climate change somehow personally profit by doing exactly that?
How can any human (who doesn’t plan to live on the Moon or Mars) ignore what is happening? How can we not see the signs?
Last week, I saw someone on Facebook claiming that even if the United States stopped burning fossil fuels, nothing would change—and I almost lost my sh*t at that person but decided to avoid a pointless argument on social media.
Here are three facts to debunk this myth:
1. China emitted twice as much CO2 compared to the United States in 2016—but the per capita CO2 emissions in the United States are more than twice as high compared to the population of China.
2. The per capita CO2 emissions in Canada and the United States are more than double of what European countries like Italy, France, the United Kingdom, or Germany are responsible for.
3. Air-conditioning only in the United States and Canada requires more energy than all of Africa’s energy consumption in total.
Just looking at these numbers gives us an idea of how much the behavior of North Americans affects climate change—but it also shows a lot of potential for improvement.
Let’s try to take the positive call-to-action route.
Our behavior can make a difference. It’s not all lost. And looking at per capita consumption of energy, there is a lot that we can do to help the planet.
Here are three suggestions from your friend in Germany:
1. Use air-conditioning differently.
I am not asking anyone in Arizona to switch off their air-conditioning in summer, but I would kindly ask anyone to stop using their AC if temperatures are below 35 °C (95 °F).
Another way of responsibly using air-conditioning could be making sure that your house is energy-efficient. The first step is to not open your windows during the heat of the day and use shades on your windows. Once temperatures drop at night, open doors and windows to let in cooler air.
And, of course, please don’t cool down all rooms in your house if you are not in them. Just as there is no point in heating the whole house in winter, there is no point in cooling down everything just in case we might enter that room for five minutes a day.
2. Mindful usage of cars.
I hope they don’t take away my German passport, but let me tell you that cars are the most overrated convenience responsible for climate change.
If you live 20 miles away from the next town, you need a car—I get that. If you live in a city, there is no freaking point in having a car. As long as everyone wastes all their money on cars, there is not much money left for public transportation.
Folks like Charles Koch and others planted this idea into our heads that it is perfectly normal to prefer car ownership over public transportation. You might have already guessed out why; if not, please read this article.
Imagine you would ride to your local bakery on a carriage with 150 horses in front of it—that would be ridiculous, right? That’s basically what an SUV in a city is—ridiculous.
3. Less consumption.
It’s easy to blame China and its industry for using too much energy, but it is much more painful to look at what that energy is used for. Basically, China uses all that energy to produce all these plastic toys and other gadgets we love to buy at a low price.
It’s not Chinese households using all that energy; it’s their industry producing cheap sh*t for our reckless consumerism. Clothes, electronic devices, and interior decoration for holidays—all the stuff many of us like to order without even thinking about the impact on the planet.
I am not talking about not wearing clothes or never using a phone again, but I kindly urge all of us to question what we really need in life. Heatwaves, burning oceans, and tornadoes are probably not on that list.
The good news is that we don’t even need to go from one to the other extreme. There can be a middle ground.
Just as not everyone has to go vegan (even though it would be nice) to save lives. You can start with a “Meatless Monday,” and that already makes a difference.
So how about a carless day? Or a day without air-conditioning? Or a month without buying new clothes?
Every step matters. Each of us could do a little better. Some of us are already doing more than others to protect the planet. Our goal shouldn’t be making these folks try even harder; our goal should be taking the weight of the world off their shoulders.
One percent of our population living 99 percent eco-conscious is not saving our planet. We need 99 percent of our population to at least give a flying f*ck about what is happening in front of our eyes and start doing something about it.
“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” ~ Neil Armstrong
I am not asking you to move to the forest and stop living life—I am just asking all of us (including myself) to be a bit more mindful about what we do—and cause.