So, as summer is supposedly approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is supposedly approaching in the Southern Hemisphere. It appears, though, that we are getting to a point where neither winter nor summer is anything like what they used to be – regardless of where in the world you reside.
Heatwave … again
Not many weeks ago I was having conversations with friends and relatives from the Motherland groaning about the cold weather – hail was the topic du jour. And whilst spending Christmas 2015 in Copenhagen, I and fellow inhabitants of Denmark experienced the warmest December ever recorded.
Meanwhile, ‘autumn heatwave’ made it into the headlines in the New Zealand Herald after the month of May recorded temperatures a whole 1.5C hotter than average. I and most other Aucklanders have been selfishly loving the milder onset to ‘winter’ – yet a part of me is deeply concerned at the greater implications of this wider-ranging issue.
According to NASA’s climate change website (climate.nasa.gov), the ten warmest years since 1880 have occurred in the last 12 years – all as a result of human factors. The common denominator is the large-scale disruption of nature’s balance. Practices of disastrous proportions include: over-fishing, mass scale agriculture, depletion of land and fresh water, mass-scale livestock farming and meat production, which have exploded in the last 50 years and expected to rise (USA and China: we can seeeee you).
But apart from lots of fancy conferences on the subject – what is actually being done? Are the biggest contributors to this eventual-but-certain-planet-destruction issue being addressed? And are plans of action big enough to make a significant change being carried out as we speak?
Who should do what?
According to researcher and global depletion expert Dr Richard Oppenlander, the author of ‘Food Choice and Sustainability’, the meat production industry in its entirety is the biggest contributor to global warming. China and the USA are the biggest consumers of meat in the world with one fourth of the world’s total meat production going to China.
According to Oppenlander, a failure to include developing countries – and emission heavyweights – such as China, Mexico, India, Brazil and South Korea equally in major global climate change initiatives has caused unnecessary delays to significant action. Discrepancies in the extent of the requirements imposed on various countries due to financial impact has left nations divided. And as we bicker on about moolah, Earth is getting ever closer to irreversible disaster.
Ignorance 1, Earth 0
Without discounting individual responsibility-taking, which is crucial, we as individuals can recycle, save water, eat primarily plant-based diets and drive hybrid cars all we want, but we won’t get far unless the heavyweights contributing to this issue start pulling their heavy weight.
Our planet is about to cark it from irreversible damage that we inflicted on it. And if the current level of human consciousness continues – it will actually cark it while politicians argue and big corporations and governments give in to greed, as we sit back in our cosy living rooms watching ‘The Kardashians’, obvivious to the dire straits we are really in.