Would you starve yourself to save the planet from climate change? Young German activists did just that for almost three weeks. Their intention? Secure a meeting with the three main candidates vying to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss Germany's response to the phenomenon. They believe Germany is not addressing climate change, and only a hunger strike would get the attention of their wannabe leaders. Their health critically deteriorated after weeks of being ignored. But on day 19 of the strike, the three candidates agreed to meet September 23, three days before the election.
What’s the lesson here? More of us need to hunger for change. We don’t have to go to their extreme, but we all need to take climate change more seriously. This is perhaps the biggest global issue. Among others, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report shows how it has escalated to an emergency because of our actions. Just this week, we learned the ozone hole that appears annually over the South Pole is bigger than Antarctica and larger than it has ever been. It means high levels of ultraviolet sun rays are penetrating that hemisphere, more people will develop cataracts, and sunburns may worsen.
To agree with the German activists, we must act now to preserve our environment. There is no Planet B! Earth is home, let’s take care of it. Everyone is responsible for fixing climate change, not just parliamentarians and other policymakers. You can help in many ways: cut back on flying because air crafts release tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; use less energy at home; carpool with family and friends; and invest in renewable energy. It will take a lot of effort and behavioural change, but we can do this.
In the Caribbean we are experiencing our fair share of climate change such as longer droughts and more intense storms. For Jamaica, 2020-2030 is a climacteric decade for us. In that time, we must work to achieve Vision 2030, primarily our commitment to saving the planet. Now is the time to lower our carbon footprint, fund and implement environmentally friendly projects, invest in sustainable development and new technologies that promote energy efficiency, and find more ways to reduce the negative effects of climate change. It's time to slow global warming.
The world’s future depends on what we do now.