I have heard about “climate change” for a long while, but just like everybody else, I never really gave it a serious thought.
And things started to change from last year, when I watched this speech by Leonardo DiCaprio at the opening of Climate Summit 2014. I was deeply touched and fell in depression for quite some time, for it constantly echoing in my head: “…the economy itself will die if our ecosystems collapse…”. Ever since I just can’t help myself wondering what all of our “10 year plans” are for if our planet may not even make it until we succeed?
Probably up to now everybody is aware that more than 2,000 lives have been claimed by the extreme heatwave in India, “the highest number of casualties for more than 20 years” as stated on the Guardian. I could totally imagine this would happen to a country with that many of people living on the streets like India, under the heat of 48 degree C.
In my home country Vietnam, the situation is only slightly better, casualties and coma have been reported. Unicef’s climate fact sheet also suggests “an average annual temperature rise in Viet Nam by 2100 of approximately 2.3°C” and “Viet Nam is ranked 13th of the 170 countries deemed vulnerable to the impacts of climate change over the next 30 years and is one of the 16 “extreme risk” countries”. This year, our coffee exports drop 40% due to severe drought (we are the 2nd biggest coffee exporter in the world). And “the temperature hit 41.5 degrees Celsius, or 106.7 degrees Fahrenheit, in some central provinces” reported by Thanh Nien News. And in Hanoi, a video went viral showing someone frying egg and meat under the 40 degree C heat.
In other parts of the world there are consequences too. London suffered from serious flood in 2014; or a friend of mine in Wroclaw (Poland) said that he saw flowers in his garden during Christmas 2 years ago, which left me totally awed because I still recalled the snowy -20 degree C winter I went through in 2009 in the same city.
Obviously, climate change is everywhere, even though we all pretend like we don’t see it; or maybe we just don’t care because we can’t relate. Perhaps for those sitting in A/C rooms, moving around in A/C cars, the 2,500 dead in India is just a number, they would never understand what it really means.
(For more information on countries responsible for emission and countries vulnerable to climate change, check this carbon map)
Hanoi has recently been through extremely hot days. I was sick most of the time under that scorching weather. I could hardly eat or sleep, it was too hot, but still I refused to turn on the A/C (it might be weird for some if I say I feel guilty of my own carbon footprint for the thought that it contributes to the suffering of so many homeless people out there). And so, I woke up one morning after a few hours attempting to sleep with a swollen face due to heat allergy. Then came 3 sleepless nights of red rash covering my skin from head to toes, and also inside my throat and stomach. During that time my mind was full of negative thinking and I thought often about the people who died out there under the heat and tried to imagine the pain they must have gone through. And I wondered if this would be the “legacy” we leave for our kids, or grand-kids.. Probably from now on, every year would be a “record” year (of heat, of flood, of drought, of death..).
But now, a rational healthy me think more positively. Will we die that way or should we start facing the harsh fact and fight?
Apparently, this combat against climate change largely depends on Governments, but that doesn’t mean individuals can’t help, there are “only” 7 billion individuals on this Earth(!)
Recently I found this “fun” question on twitter: “On average, an American uses as much electricity in one month as a Tanzanian does in how many years?” – Answer: 8 years! – And that is exactly where we should start!
Saving our resources and reducing our carbon footprint whenever possible is a solution.
Please think again when you have to turn on the A/C, and think again, and again when you decide to turn down the temperature. And then, do you need all those electric items on in the house? Even if you’ve paid the bills, just understand that if our ecosystems collapse your money is a mere piece of trash. The only question is: Do you really want to contribute to saving the world or you want to live like an ignorant citizen? Everything you do is affecting the Earth, and you can choose to go for the better, or the worse. Maybe try sleeping without the A/C for a night and if that is suffering to you then you can imagine how millions (or billions?) of locals in Africa and Asia are facing.
“We only get one planet. Humankind must become accountable on a massive scale for the wanton destruction of our collective home. Protecting our future on this planet depends on the conscious evolution of our species.” – Leonardo DiCaprio.