As the world still struggles with the consequences of its own actions, words and empty promises are no longer enough. For the past decades, the world has turned a blind eye to natures’ man-infected suffering in the name of advancement. Thus, today, nature is striking back hard. Natural crises, as well as unstable temperatures, are turning into the new norm. In brief, our planet is under red alert, and action must be taken in order to save it.
“The science is clear: we need to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century,” the United Nations Secretary-General said in a statement.
“And our duty is even clearer: we need to protect the people and communities that are being hit by climate disruption. We must step up preparations for the escalating implications of the climate crisis for international peace and security.”
The poor and the vulnerable bearing the consequences
The world is now suffering from extreme low and high temperatures. These temperatures, in return, are triggering countless wildfires, floods, tornados, hurricanes, and droughts. Thus, all these hazards are leaving massive tragedies in their wake in many sectors and endangering political, economic, and social stability.
However, the ones suffering the most are the same people who can’t afford to bear the burden. Poor and vulnerable communities and countries are reaping the consequences of the rich’s greed without any of the benefits. In 2019, almost 34 million people globally suffered from food insecurity as a direct result of climate-extremities. Furthermore, natural disasters have forced the displacement of almost 24.9 million people in 140 countries. Though citizens of low-income countries are the least population responsible for climate change, they are four times more likely to suffer displacement due to climate-related problems than those living in rich countries.
‘The multilateral challenge of our age’
Global change is no longer a plot in a depressing science fiction movie. It is our everyday enemy and our biggest challenge. Moreover, according to the UN secretary-general, climate change is the “defining issue of our time”. Therefore, the world must focus its attention on the fields of prevention, protection, security, and partnerships. “The climate crisis is the multilateral challenge of our age”, he said, stressing the necessity for unparalleled global coordination and cooperation.
“I urge Council members to use their influence during this pivotal year to ensure the success of COP26, and to mobilize others, including international financial institutions and the private sector, to do their part,” he added.
A global state of crisis
With biodiversity declining and natural hazards escalating, the world is suffering from an unprecedented crisis. Therefore, our world must start redeeming its relation with nature. According to the Secretary-General, “there is no choice but to transform how economies and societies value nature”. He also said facts, economies, and science all agree that “We must put the health of the planet at the center of all our plans and policies”.
By 2050, the world must achieve zero emissions. Furthermore, the world must start reversing species and ecosystem loss via concrete targets, science-backed plans, and means of implementation. Moreover, reducing maritime pollution, protecting vulnerable waters, and putting an end to illegal and unsustainable fishing practices will also help establish a better relationship with the environment. Additionally, initiating a better sound chemical and waste management while safeguarding people’s and the environment’s health will further aid in reaching that goal.
2021: the year to make a difference
According to the United Nations, 2021 is the year most important to make a difference and solve the current crisis. Mr. Guterres even called the year a “make or break year”. He also stressed the importance of cutting emissions by 45 percent by 2030 as means of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“Decision-makers must walk the talk. Long-term commitments must be matched by immediate actions to launch the decade of transformation that people and the planet so desperately need”, Mr. Guterres urged.
No action equals no future
The decisions, actions, and plans taking place today will start a chain reaction that determines the state of the future. According to UNEP chief Inger Andersen, the lack of serious actions will set future generation to inherit a hothouse planet with more carbon in the atmosphere than in 800,000 years…will live in sinking cities…[and] toxic waste – which every year is enough to fill 125,000 Olympic-size swimming pools”.
2021: Critical year to ‘reset our relationship with nature’ – UN. (2021, February 25). UN News. https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/02/1085382FROM THE FIELD: Poor and the vulnerable bear brunt of climate change. (2021, February 25). UN News. https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/02/1085272UN climate reports a ‘red alert’ for the planet: Guterres. (2021, February 26). UN News. https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/02/1085812World risks ‘collapse of everything’ without strong climate action. (2021, February 25). UN News. https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/02/1085452