A recent study released by the U.N on the topic of climate change is a most sobering document. Compiled over a period of 5 years by several hundred authors the report warns of rising seas, dwindling food supplies and the prediction that the poorest people in the world who have had virtually nothing to do with causing global warming will bear the brunt of the consequences.
“The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants. That is killing some creatures or stunting their growth. Organic matter locked into frozen Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouses gases that will cause further warming.”
“Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger.”
The authors stress that climate change is not some problem far off in the future, it is happening now. We have all experienced changes in the weather in the last few years. Here in Ireland rain has changed from being mostly soft showers to monsoon like downpours. We have seen coastal erosion on an unprecedented scale this past Winter. Severe winds earlier this year brought down 1% of Ireland’s trees. In a country with only about 11% tree cover that’s a huge loss.
The report cites a particular risk that in a hotter climate farmers will not be able to produce enough food to feed the ever increasing needs of our planet. “When supply falls below demand, somebody doesn’t have enough food,” says Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton University climate scientist who was one of the contributors to the report. “When some people don’t have food. you get starvation. Yes. I’m worried.”
We all have a responsibility to try our best to protect our beautiful planet. We really need to become self sufficient again. Each person with land or access to land has a duty to grow at least a portion of their food. Crops like Potatoes and Brassicas are so easy to grow. Salad crops can even be grown in containers, no land necessary. It pains me to go to the supermarket and see Spring Onions coming from countries like Chile or Kenya. I know people in these countries also have to make a living but I’m sure they could grow crops to feed their families or sell locally instead of being at the mercy of corporations whose only desire is cheap labour and cheap produce.
Consumerism has to cease. How can we expect to continue to shop, shop, shop while our Planet pays the price. Andy and I rarely go to shopping centres. We buy nearly everything locally and clothes are nearly always secondhand. Even though our country is still in recession one can still get great quality clothing in the secondhand shops. Of course we grow what we can and will increase that each year. I also think that being vegetarian is a more planet friendly choice. More tree cover would be far better for our country than land being used to grow meat. Animals themselves add to the pollution problem. Slurry runoff has contaminated a lot of Ireland’s waterways. I’ve nothing against animals, I love them and choose not to dine on them, but we have a huge amount of animals being produced now. Far more than our country actually needs if we were just feeding ourselves. I know there will not be a huge conversion to a non meat diet but even a reduction would help the situation and probably improve people’s health too.
I could go on but I won’t. Most people at this point know the changes they can make to make a difference.
So come on!
Let’s work together to save our beautiful planet. For our own sakes and for the people who come after us.