Reading and writing about the climate crisis means to follow a changing narrative, as climate change is now happening fast and brutally, and humanity’s climate-action response has, consequently, changed dramatically in the last few years. Though we still use mostly fossil fuels, our direction has decidedly switched to one of renewable fuels and other measures to decrease greenhouse gases. We delayed for decades though, distracted (or reassured) by misinformation and by apathy, so our pain—in the form of droughts, floods, severe storms, extinction of species, mass movements of people and animals fleeing the bad—is baked in, though the severity of that pain still seems a bit within our influence. However, with the switching of our mindset and energy sources, the extinction of humanity no longer seems inevitable.
As David Wallace Wells writes in his comprehensive, humbling, and somewhat hopeful article, which is referenced below, our future will be one of managing punishing conditions. (This presumes we’re not undone by a tipping point that sweeps us away.) Lots to be done to lessen the pain and the risk of tipping, but that maybe we have changed our future from apocalypse to instead just pain (pain that will vary around the world) gives hope that we humans can, through smart and great efforts, effect further climate positives for ourselves and other species.
David Wallace Wells, “Beyond Catastrophe A New Climate Reality Is Coming Into View,” The New York Times, 26 Oct. 2022, a new climate reality
The guiding map of climate solutions is the 2017 book edited by Paul Hawken: Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming (New York: Penguin Books, 2017). The ongoing Project Drawdown is at https://drawdown.org/
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