I have lived on the West Coast nearly my entire life, and aside from a brief stint in New York City, I have always considered California my home. The mild weather, beaches, and laid-back culture made California a truly amazing place to live.
Things have changed. The weather is not so mild anymore: August and September of this year were the hottest months ever recorded — shattering all previous records — and summers are becoming more brutal each year. Extreme heat and drought set the stage for this year’s unprecedented fire season that has seen over 4 million acres charred…
Climate change, overpopulation, inequality, and pandemics all have one root cause. It threatens to destroy us.
Virtually all environmentalists know that the Industrial Revolution, which began about 200 years ago, irrevocably changed the Earth and the way we inhabit it. The most notable change was that the use of fossil fuels exploded, which led to dramatic increases of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Before the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide stood at 280 parts per million; today it has risen to over 410 parts per million — the highest level in some three million years.
One benefit of our fight against the pandemic is that emissions have gone way down, which, on the face of it, may seem like a small glimmer of hope for people concerned about climate change. Some environmentalists have even suggested that there are key lessons in all this about how to reduce the world’s carbon footprint. While that may be true on some level, we have yet to prove that we can we tackle either the pandemic or climate change without destroying the economy.
Shanelle is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer.