The First Step To Addressing Climate Change is to Have Conversations About Climate Change, No Matter How Uncomfortable
Hey travelers, it’s finally time we have that uncomfortable talk. Yes, the one about… climate change.
If you saw news of October 2018’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report you know that the situation is dire and that we need to act immediately to avoid the devastating effects of global warming rising beyond 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) in just a decade or two.
If you didn’t see the report I’m not surprised, as it was only in the news for a day or two, and then, like always, it disappeared and we stopped talking about it. A recent survey found that 65% of Americans rarely or never discuss climate change with their friends or family, and only 20% hear people they know mention the subject at least once a month. Talking about climate change is uncomfortable.
Now, this time, we must talk about it. The IPCC report makes it clear that climate change isn’t just in the distant future. It’s here and the record-breaking storms, forest fires, droughts, coral bleaching, heat waves and floods we are experiencing now will be worse at 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) of warming, and far worse at 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) or more.
Already, according to a new scientific report cited in the Independent, “swathes of Amazonian rainforest (are) dying as trees fail to keep up with climate change.” If temperatures rise above 2 degrees C, all of the planet’s coral reefs will be lost. Hans-Otto Pörtner, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group that produced the report, says that “Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems.”
Collective Action To Stop Burning Fossil Fuels is the Solution
In order to stave off the worst effects of climate change, we must cut global carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, and then to near zero by 2050. We need to change our energy sources and other major systems to stop burning fossil fuels, among other systemic changes. We can only accomplish these changes through collective action, not just individual lifestyle change checklists. Changing your lightbulbs to use less energy, or taking fewer trips, while important, won’t solve the climate crisis. Taking collective action to stop using fossil fuels for energy, will. The first step to collective action is to begin talking about the problem.
Once we start talking about it, not addressing climate change will become uncomfortable, and we will finally be ready to work together to solve this issue. So, start having the uncomfortable conversation about climate change at home, at church, and at work every day.
As a tour operator, someone who sells international travel, it is uncomfortable for us to talk about climate change. While sustainable tourism can help protect important ecosystems and provide incomes and better lives for local people, flying in airplanes and travelling has a huge carbon footprint that can’t be ignored. It is time for us as a company, and as an industry, to talk about climate change.
Because you know what’s more uncomfortable than talking about climate change? Climate change.