Two new reports this week demonstrated the urgency of the ecological and climate crisis facing humanity. The first, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that the normal temperature across the United States is one degree Fahrenheit higher today than it was in the year 2000. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but this increase is on top of the fact that the decade of 2011-2020 was the warmest decade in recorded history, and is actually a huge increase over such a short period. The second, from a study conducted by polar climate change scholars at the University of Massachusetts, found that unless the goals of the Paris climate accord are met, an “abrupt jump” in the pace of Antarctic ice loss is likely by 2060, which would lead directly to “rapid and unstoppable” sea level rise as chunks of that vast ice sheet melt.
Both of these reports confirm what we’ve known for years: the climate is heating, and the heating is leading us to larger and more catastrophic consequences. The question is, what can we do about it?
We know the answers of the U.S. and global ruling class. One side still denies science and says nothing is wrong, and that we can keep burning fossil fuels forever without worries. The other side accepts the science, but wants to use the market mechanisms of capitalism to slowly incentivize the development and use of sustainable energies like wind and solar. In other words, we care about the environment, but capitalists need to be able to make a profit first! Obviously, neither will make the kind of fundamental change we need in order to stave off catastrophic ecological destruction.
We need immediate change now, but that change won’t come through capitalist governments or capitalists themselves.
We know what needs to be done. But first we need to remove those from power who have driven our planet to the edge of this deadly cliff. They brought us here, so we can’t expect them to save us. Only we can save ourselves – by getting rid of the system that has brought us to the brink of destruction. But we don’t have much time. Future generations are depending on us.