The young people who have been diligently striking as part of ‘Fridays For Future’ championed by Swedish school girl Greta Thunberg, invite us all to join them on Friday 20 September at events across the globe. From 11am-2pm, we are asked to leave school and work, disrupting the norm, to voice a collective demand for urgent action to be taken immediately to reduce and combat the effects of climate change.
The global temperature rise is a direct result of burning coal, natural gas, and oil. The greenhouse gases which blanket the Earth increase through anthropogenic actions, creating a thicker, denser blanket which heat is unable to escape through, heating the earth. The Paris Agreement in 2016 was signed by 175 Countries, agreeing that the global temperature increase must remain below 2C this century, which has subsequently been lowered to 1.5C. Government, industry, and individuals must all work together to achieve this goal. However, it is recognised that the next 18 months are critical as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reported that in order to keep the global temperature below 1.5C this century, by 2030 emissions of carbon dioxide must be cut by 40%. If we assume countries work to 5-10 Year time-frames, then plans to achieve this reduction must be in place by the end of 2020.
It is clear to all however that we are currently experiencing the results of climate change and human actions. As the earth has begun to heat up we are experiencing more wild fires, a natural occurrence in some parts of the world but which are now exasperated by rising temperatures and low rainfall. In 2015, almost 30% of the global land surface was suffering from drought conditions, whilst Arctic sea ice has steadily been melting and scientists have estimated that if the Greenland Ice Sheet were to completely melt then sea levels would increase around 6 metres. Storms and floods are becoming more prevalent across the globe, and our ocean life is choking amongst the plastic and household rubbish which is disposed of carelessly. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California is estimated to weigh 80,000 tonnes, equivalent to 500 Jets.
Climate change is not a debate, a consideration, or a small issue which can be shrugged off on to someone else’s shoulders – Greta Thunberg eloquently said “I often hear adults say: ‘We need to give the next generation hope … But I don’t want your hope … I want you to behave like our house is on fire. Because it is”. We therefore must act, not offer hope, we all know what needs to be done, but are often afraid, unwilling or to apathetic to rally; the 20 September gives us all an opportunity to act, to support, to make our voices heard across the globe. If you want to find a strike near you visit Campaign Against Climate Change, on the day at 1pm everyone is encouraged to set off alarms to let everyone in the UK know that time is running out.