Today’s a big day– not only is it the UN’s International Day of Peace (and the first to have a Pagan youth delegate, yay!), it’s the day of the People’s Climate March in NYC. Organizer estimate that nearly 310,000 were in attendance in NYC alone, but New York isn’t the only place seeing a pretty massive turnout of protesters today. In addition to all of the NYC protesters, people across 150 different countries have turned out to call attention to climate change and show their support for reforms that would help minimize the damage happening around the world at an increasingly alarming rate (how alarming? Just take a look at the evidence that Europe’s forests– a major carbon sink that was expected to help offset emissions for decades longer– are already nearly saturated).
I wasn’t able to attend any of the marches today, but I do have some good news on the environmental front:
- The ozone layer has thickened up a bit. While this won’t help with carbon emissions on Earth and doesn’t mean that the ozone has completely bounced back from decades of depletion, this news is nonetheless encouraging. Perhaps a bit too encouraging– part of me is concerned that denialists and lawmakers may take this encouraging news as everything being okay and recovering on its own. It isn’t.
- The White House is actually going through with plans to help boost renewable energy and energy efficiency projects worldwide, to the tune of $68 million.
- Sources say NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to announce the first sustainability commitment of his administration.
- Economists are saying that sustainability and renewable energy may end up costing far less than was initially estimated– Paul Krugman says it “might be free,” while this report indicates that it may actually kick off long-term economic growth.
Of course, climate change denial will continue to be a thing. Usually, it seems to be separated into two camps: those who deny that it’s anything out of the ordinary (or even claim that it’s beneficial), and those who deny that it is related to any man-made causes. I used to fall into the latter camp for awhile– there was (and is) an enormous body of evidence indicating that more extreme weather patterns and an overall warming trend were going on, but I found it hard to believe that a planet that’s already so resilient, already endured so much, could really be that adversely affected by us. It’s nice to have been able to change my mind, though.
It wasn’t just the increasing amounts of evidence that did it, either. Eventually I realized three things:
- Even if the Earth has endured far worse than increased temperatures, that doesn’t mean we’ll make it out. Not without what I imagine to be most of humanity LARPing Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in what’ll be the few habitable places left.
- Even if one doesn’t necessary believe that climate change is caused or hastened by man’s activities, the same activities that are accused of it are also very, very, irrefutably tied to air and water pollution. Industrial runoff damaging soil quality, effluents tainting potable water, dangerous particulates and VOCs making their way into the air… many of which are tied to acquiring, using, and producing byproducts from fossil fuels. Even if you don’t care about regulating carbon emissions, why wouldn’t you want to limit all of that?
- Fossil fuels are a limited resource that cost us billions to obtain, use, and clean up after. Nuclear power is better by far, but still produces waste that essentially amounts to us just putting our energy problem on a shelf for a few hundred or a few thousand years. We could do a lot worse than funding research into energy sources that… y’know, aren’t like that.
Whether you are still on the fence about climate change or a staunch supporter of reduced carbon emissions, you can check out some of the live-tweeting of the People’s Climate March events by searching for #climatemarch, #peoplesclimatemarch, and #peoplesclimate on Twitter.