Australia is burning, Indonesia is drowning and Greenland is melting.
Is this what we have come to?
As the devastating bush fires have killed more than 1 billion animals in Australia, scientists are trying to find out what’s actually happening. Since 2019, Australia has already experienced extreme heat and dryness, not to mention that 2019 has become the hottest year on record. However, extreme weather is not merely the only factor, as a study discovered that the extreme temperatures which coincided with the fires were four times more likely to happen because of human-causes.
Moving up to the north-west neighbouring country, severe flooding in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta has displaced more than 36,000 and caused a rising death toll of up to 66 victims. While experts have said that the deadly flood was caused by heavy rainfall and storms, the causes consist of much more than just extreme weather: Jakarta is quickly sinking, and it is happening right in front of our eyes. Jakarta has even been said to be one of the fastest sinking cities in the world affected by climate change.
Though island nations are considered as one of the most vulnerable locations affected by climate change, let’s just not forget about Greenland’s ice sheets. Based on a study published by Nature in late 2019, Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion tons of ice between 1992 and 2018. This also means that the loss of ice has increased rapidly from 25 billion to 234 billion tons per year, which is nine times more than the initial damage. If the Greenland ice sheet melts, the sea levels would also rise significantly by more or less 60 meters.
Now, after knowing the severity of the environmental damage happening around us, who is to blame?
Many of us are aware that we have already entered the era of global warming many years before. Many of us are also aware of the environmental damage our single-use plastic bags can cause, along with our textile waste as well. Many of us might also be aware of the environmental consequences that come with eating beef and driving our own personal vehicle. But if many of us are aware of these issues, then why is it so difficult for us to change?
Because changing our ways drastically just isn’t that simple.
For many years, we’ve lived our lives comfortably.
Even if we don’t want to admit it, these environmentally damaging habits are convenient for us. Taking our own vehicle to work, is, of course, more comfortable than taking public transportation. Using single-use plastic bags to carry all of our belongings that we bought from the supermarket is easier and more convenient than having to bring our own reusable bag from home.
These small yet damaging habits make it easier for us to live our lives, but this comfort and convenience comes with a cost. Our private vehicles that help us commute conveniently have polluted the air with CO2. The single-use plastic bags that we usually use are mostly non-recyclable and is creating more trash by the day.
All of these products that make our lives easier are bringing damage to the environment. This is the reason why many find it so difficult to make changes in their lives.
But this doesn’t mean that we should just sit still.
While we may not be able to save the world by instantly changing the system, but we can play our role to make this world a better place for ourselves and our loved ones. We should all try to do what we can as individuals by starting to change small habits in our daily lives. It’s not an exact guarantee that by using a stainless straw, the climate crisis would instantly stop. But with consistency, solidarity, and the willingness to change, we can all move towards a better and more greener society.
In addition to making small changes in our daily lives, we also need to start building our awareness about our environment and the impact that our actions bring. If we think about this change in the long run, we really can improve the environment around us and prevent further damage to our earth.
So go on, take your part in making the world greener and better for everyone. Do what you can by changing small habits in your daily life. If you’re a student, you can bring up about this topic in the class, so that other students would be educated about this matter. If you’re a writer, start writing and spreading awareness about the environment. If you’re in business, start opting for more sustainable ways of production and packaging. If you’re a worker, start trying out public transportation. Whatever action you do, it’s important to simply start.
At this moment, any support matters.
So anytime you feel hopeless about our earth and the environment, think about the way you’re living your life and what small changes you can make in order to be a bit kinder to the earth. Because truth be told, our time is running out, so the sooner we take action, the better it would be.