With 2020 throwing all these pressing issues at us, it’s easy for humankind to lose track of the most impactful, reigning issue of them all: climate change.
by Sindu Vipparthy
Right now, the world is going through the worst of times. May I remind you that we’re in the middle of a pandemic that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands, where only a few months ago Australia was on fire. Also, our society is in the midst of a revolution to bring justice to the heavily oppressed African American community. And when you think it can’t get any worse, I’m here to crash your party and remind you that millions of innocents in Yemen are dying from hunger. We’ve only been halfway through the cursed year of 2020, but it feels like we’ve been at this for centuries.
However, with 2020 throwing all these pressing issues at us, it’s pretty easy to lose track of one of the biggest issues humankind—no, scratch that—the biggest issue for every single living being on this planet: climate change.
Climate change has been a progressive issue that has been around since before I even existed, in which I’ve been invested in all my life. Hearing about how humankind’s careless mistakes affect organisms all over the world hurts my heart. But hearing about the starved children in Yemen and the families severed by the coronavirus leaves me heartbroken as well. The question is, which issue is more important?
“We have bigger problems right now” perspective:
Right at the beginning of the year (I don't think it was a coincidence), coronavirus had hit the headlines. First seeming like not that huge of an issue, many people, including myself, didn’t know that it would become this prevalent.
When I first heard of the new virus, the case count was at roughly 23,000 (I know right)! There was a mention of it here and there, but overall, it didn’t really affect us...yet. I would have never thought that this one microscopic roundup of RNA would have quarantined billions of people worldwide, completely changed every single person’s daily routines, weakened the world's economy, affected over 9 million people and claimed the lives of almost 500,000. It’s appalling, really.
Well, my main point is, without the amount of attention it deserved, the world would not be able to act accordingly with the needed measures. Perhaps our world leaders would not have been able to act appropriately or fast enough if the issue wasn’t so pressing. So prevalent. When any issue gains recognition, the world naturally focuses on it and produces as much information about it as possible. Coronavirus’s recognition allowed people to understand the issue quickly and act upon it in order to save the most lives.
A few months later another issue arose: Ahmaud Arberry was lynched by two white supremacists, Breonna Taylor was shot in her home, and George Floyd was suffocated to death by a police officer. These people all became victims of brutal hate crimes, only because of the color of their skin. They sparked the revolution that is the Black Lives Matter movement of today. However, with these protests happening all over the world, it was yet another issue for humankind to deal with. But, even though these protests are happening now, they’re all products of the centuries of injustice our black people have faced. You can’t really ignore this one because our neglect towards this issue has led us this far; this issue NEEDS attention because we can’t have the black community suffer any longer.
“Climate change should be our first concern” perspective:
On the other hand, because of all these recurring issues crowding the headlines and diverting people’s attention, our big problem of climate change hasn’t really gotten the attention it deserves.
Humankind began to grow conscious, primarily in the late 20th century, as some people realized the immense negative impact that they had on our environment. Our consciousness about our negative impact has only recently increased, and we have been combating the issue for decades.
However, most people don’t realize that climate change affects every living being on Earth. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we’ve gotten roughly 10 years to revert our negative impact to save the planet, and every second of neglect leaves the issue to continue to grow and worsen.
So, as we’ve seen from our pressing issues today, the recipe for immediate action is attention towards the issue. Therefore, in order to alleviate our planet from climate change, we need to bring attention to this issue. We ALL need to care because it affects all of us, and it is our job to revert our negative impacts.
Every issue that humanity faces deserves to be relevant. Be it the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests or the dreaded coronavirus, every issue deserves to have attention because, in the end, that's the only way we can fix it.
On the other hand, we can say that due to the world's inactivity for these past few months, the problem of climate change has slowed. However, this still doesn’t reverse the centuries of negative impact our environment has faced because of human pollution. Humankind needs to remember our bigger issue and address it like the worldwide climate protests that have happened throughout history. We need to remember that even if we have more prevalent issues at the moment, this year will be one of the hottest years ever. Antarctica’s glaciers are melting faster than ever because of extensive heat waves. Billions of excess carbon emissions have been released due to the massive wildfires in Australia. Some of you might be thinking “Oh! It doesn’t concern me”. Well, let me tell you something. If the coronavirus doesn’t get around to kill you, climate change will instead.
So buck up! Fight for our planet! Because we can’t have people saying “Climate Change Who?” anymore.