When I first started learning about climate change, I thought of it as mainly an environmental issue, because the most outspoken proponents of climate action were environmental groups. As I read more and heard more, I began to realize that concern about global warming was not limited to tree huggers. A lot of people, not necessarily environmentalists, are starting to worry about the future they’re leaving for their kids or grandkids, or, more broadly, the fate of a Third-World village that relies on seasonal rains.
Avoiding catastrophic climate change is not just about “saving the earth.” The earth itself has been around a lot longer than we have and has gone through plenty of climate changes. Ecosystems have been altered. Countless species have become extinct. It will be much the same this time. The difference is, this time, humans were here to cause climate change. We’re here to decrease climate change, if we act soon. And we’re also here to experience climate chaos, if we delay action.
Whether we like it or not, we are part of the ecosystem, and environmental problems are also human problems. But not everyone sees it that way. There’s humans, and then there’s everything else.
If we are going to confront the issue of climate change, we have to reveal the human face. If the most heartlessly scientific eco-warrior wants the world to confront climate change, he or she must reveal the human face.
Because it isn’t just about saving the planet or saving the polar bears. It’s about helping all inhabitants of the earth — including people. And people have to be the ones to do it.
Yes, people includes you.