Modern climate change began with the Industrial Revolution, when an unprecedented devastation of the environment began through determined industrialisation.
It started in Britain, and her example of the resulting wealth, power and “progress” caused the desire for similar expansion and benefit to spread worldwide: the model that was created in the 1700s by inventors like John Kay, who created the flying shuttle, revolutionised technology, but was the beginning of great damage to the planet, which is ongoing still as developing nations strive to emulate the success of others while developed countries want to achieve yet more. The days when rivers ran black and fields were grey, when workers died as a result of unchecked pollution, are gone in Britain but exist still in the Niger Delta and elsewhere, but no leaders in our global community seems able or willing to prevent it.
The abuse of the planet through manufacturing, mining, chemicals and pollutants is paralleled by an unsustainable population explosion, new world citizens who want a standard of life as good as anyone else’s, and which can be achieved only by further demands on Earth’s resources, whether minerals, water or space, energy and manufacturing to supply consumer demand. There is only so much she has to give up for our needs, which is why China is putting in place a plan to drill on the Moon for the minerals Earth cannot supply.
We have known for decades that emissions and toxins are creating significant problems for our future, and while climate change summits are held regularly, nothing substantive has been achieved as poorer, vulnerable countries blame the developed world for the situation and expect them to rectify the situation, while the large nations prefer to procrastinate in order to protect their own interests – not realizing, or acknowledging, that to push the problem into distant years is establishing a clear outcome.
Climate change is here, and unless there is a unity of approach by every country, every leader, every human being, now, the results of our, and our ancestors’, actions are assured. Weather patterns will become more and more erratic and extreme; the earth will erupt though extraordinary volcanic and other eruptions; sea waters will melt more rapidly than anyone has foreseen, there will be food and water shortages accompanied by major population movements; low-lying lands will disappear along with shore lines, and inland towns will become ports.
We cannot, now, prevent climate change, and as politicians debate green energy taxes and wind farms I watch with a sense of disbelief and unreality, for they are missing the main point. Yes, any measures to help the environment are to be applauded, but these are comparatively small measures intended, ultimately, to help human survival rather than benefit the world of nature in its own right. Far more important is to strive for unanimity of purpose globally to achieve what is needed to prevent an extreme of planetary conditions that otherwise could decimate life on Earth one day. Additionally, we need to accept the presence of climate change, and to prepare for the outcomes that are inevitable.
Climate change brings – change – and while it makes life different, it does not mean it is bad. Since life began on Earth conditions have altered over time, creating deserts from green lands, forcing mass migrations and extremes of heat and cold over millions of years. Humans, and nature, adapt to what is presented and this is what we will do, once again. It is time, however, to see the truth clearly, to be ready, and to be unselfish.