Why should I care about climate change?
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Why should I care about COP21 in Paris, or about climate change? Alright, so here’s the deal. We now know with certainty that, if nothing changes, our planet is on a course to many future catastrophes. Global temperatures rising above 2 degrees Celsius would mean the extinction of numerous species, draughts and floods and hurricanes and typhoons, loss of lives and economic capital.
If, like many of us, you plan on living on this planet for the following few decades, you will also be exposed to many of the consequences that our current carbon emissions will lead to. Say that you plan on living in some of the areas that will be hurt less, say that you plan on being rich enough to deal with any difficulties in economic welfare, and say even that you do not plan on developing a healthy conscience that would make you feel the slightest bit bad for the millions of people that will lose their homes or their lives; but even then, the lives of a great deal of people you probably care about will still be badly affected.
So, what makes COP21 (happening right now in Paris) so important, is the fact that for the first time in human history we are actually close to reaching a legally binding climate change agreement that might prevent some of the dire consequence. In fact, with the US and China (the two biggest polluters) having reached a mutual agreement to tone down emissions, and with climate change already leaving its mark, the political landscape surrounding climate negotiations might actually seem favorable.
And I get it- meat tastes good (yesterday’s chicken wings were too good to pass up, I’m sorry!), and climate marches are inconveniently early in the morning, and giving up many of life’s commodities is unnecessarily difficult, and even if they weren’t, what does one individual matter in the grand scheme of things? But the deal is, this exact attitude got us in this situation in the first place, and the only way to actually have a livable planet for everyone in the next century (again, the whole Mars One thing seems oddly attractive) is to reduce our carbon emissions, which does not necessarily have to lead to drastic changes. However, are drastic changes in our utterly unequal, rather discriminatory, and sometimes quite shitty world such a terrible idea?
(high school graduate, 17 years old)