A while back, I heard someone comment that the concern about climate change isn’t really about the planet.
The assertion was that Earth has been here for billions of years and it will continue to be exist regardless of what happens to the climate. The real concern about climate change is what happens to life on the planet.
If we continue our current behavior, for how much longer will the planet support human, animal and plant life? Will Mother Earth continue to nurture, sustain, and support life if we continue to treat her with reckless disregard?
It’s a fair distinction to make, and brings into focus the compelling reason to “save the planet:”
It’s not the planet we need to save, but ourselves.
Our Challenge With Behavior Change
Our biggest challenge in this is that humans have proven that we’re simply not that good at doing things today that will improve our lives next year, or even tomorrow. And it’s especially hard when “future selves” really mean future generations.
If behavior change is hard even when we will likely see the results of our changes, how much harder is it when the benefits of our changed behavior accrue to people a few generations from now? This, in a nutshell, is the challenge facing us as we fight to reverse (or at least stem) climate change.
So we continue to disrespect Mother Earth.
Mother Earth Fights Back
Mother Earth doesn’t appreciate the disrespect.
She fights back. Hard. Look at the various natural disasters we’ve seen over the past few years. Floods. Hurricaines. Deep freezes. Heat waves. Historic draughts.
Seasonal weather patterns are out of rhythm.
And now, the latest natural disaster: coronavirus and COVID–19.
We disrespected Mother Earth and now we’re paying the price.
A study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reported that you’re more likely to die from COVID–19 if you live in a county with higher levels of long-term air pollution.
The effects of our collective behavior are no longer in some distant future of our great-grandchildren, but in our present.
As a consequence of our actions, Mother Earth has grounded us, sending us to our rooms while she cleans house.
Since lockdowns started, the world has seen less pollution and improved air quality. Smog has lifted in places like India and Los Angeles.
And people are dying.
Just like that person said: Mother Earth will take care of herself. The planet isn’t in danger; the people are in danger.