What Is Keeping Us From Sustaining The Planet?

The U.S. Global Change Research Program just delivered “The Fourth National Climate Assessment” to Congress and the President. While the report does not present a pretty picture, it concludes with tangible actions that Americans can collectively — nationally, regionally, and locally — take to mitigate our situation as well as adapt to changes that are already certain to happen.

The report begins: “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future — but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur.”

With us already seeing the impacts of climate change, what is keeping us from taking action to sustain the planet? We are experiencing more intense forest fires and hurricanes, disappearing coastlines, and changing climate zones. If not for the sake of the planet, what about for current younger generations who must live on a less hospitable globe?

What! What will it take?

Related questions:  Now or Later? What Do You Revere? What Are You Doing to Make the World a Better Place? How Can You Help? What Are Our Responsibilities to Others? What Is the Greatest Problem Facing Humanity?


4 thoughts on “What Is Keeping Us From Sustaining The Planet?”

  1. I believe climate change is going to have to impact the health and/or wealth of people who vote in large blocks (especially those who vote and support political campaigns) for there to be the type of support needed for collective action that involves federal policy change. On a hopeful front, solutions do exist. Unfortunately, I don’t know if we have the time to change the balance of power on a national level for us to enact those solutions in time. Therefore, it is going to take states doing what they can.

  2. The planet is going to be fine, no matter what happens with climate change. The average temperature might increase, but it’s been hotter in the past. Life will continue on — there are bacteria living in what would seem to be the most inhospitable locations on earth, like deep underwater, or in extremes of cold or heat.

    The primary question is what type of life will be here? Do we want it to be human life, or some other kind? This is what is known as an “existential crisis”: will we choose to exist or not?

    If an individual were drowning, they would fight to try and get another lungful of air. Will we fight as a species? I hope so, but sometimes it seems to be hope in the absence of evidence (i.e. faith).

  3. Great question! I’m working on my response but want to read the report first. Hopefully I can come up with something to contribute to this conversation. Michael, I like your comment about taking action at the state level – maybe we in Minnesota and other states can lead the rest of the country.

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