Why reduce your carbon emissions?

[part of a series of posts on my carbon footprint: https://flowingmu.wordpress.com/sustainability/]

It would be easy for me to assume that everyone is clear on the evidence for and problem with human-induced accelerated climate change, but I have made that mistake before. So, here are some of my thoughts and some links to other’s interpretations.

My thoughts on this include:

  • Our entire civilisation – specifically the last 10,000 years of human development and technological, cultural, psychological and spiritual evolution – has all occurred during the most climatically stable period of the earth’s history (as far as records show). Now we have pushed the system into a non-analogous situation – a set of conditions and rate of change that has never seen before – and we have limited ability to know what will happen. Gone is the stability that nursed the development of homo sapiens and our primarily agriculturally-dependent lifestyles. Well, the stability is not entirely gone yet, we still have a chance to avoid the worst, but only if we take precautionary (or emergency!) action now.
  • Those ecosystems, cultures and communities already under pressure from other forces will be pushed over the edge by dramatic climage change. Think about expanding deserts, shrinking habits for our biodiversity (animals, plants, fungus), mass extinctions of your favourite furry mammals, soaring birds and gliding fish, and thousands of people in low-lying nations getting flooded more regularly e.g. Bangladesh, the South Pacific, Battersea (London), Florida (USA) and Geraldton (WA).
  • A low-carbon society and culture is very compatible with a society and cultural that is more just, less stressful, more oriented towards wellbeing. When I read the scenarios created by groups that are thinking about possible futures (Forum for the Future, Shell, WRI), the low-carbon options always sound really attractive. If it means more local gardens, less pollution, less resource wars, more relaxed lifestyles and more conscious engagement with life, then why wouldn’t we do it?

  • I honestly think that if you are not here on earth to try and create a better present and better future, then I think you should question what it is you really are here to do. And if that is what you are here to do, then reducing the ecological ‘space’ you take up through your consumption and production of waste is a pretty important step. It means there will be more left for others now, and in the future.

[more links to scenarios, sea-level rise maps etc. to come soon]

While it may be mentioned now in most papers on most days so I assume people are familiar with the issues, I have
pulled together a few links which I think do a good job of presenting
the issues and opportunities.

350 Animation

Fast, for all languages. 90 seconds, no words, designed so anyone and everyone in the world can ‘get it’. The direct link to the animation, including you-tube and hi-res versions is http://www.350.org/en/animation

Climate Challenge

Comprehensive. The UK government’s citizen-focused page full of presentations, short and funny films, myth-busting and hard numbers.

Carbon for Kids

It’s child’s play. Some basic facts and images, and excellent quick-time movies that give you a good overview of the causes and dynamics of enhanced climate change.

IPCC Presentations and graphics

For experts. To see what the leading scientists are saying themselves, this hosts all the presentations and graphics used in presentations to fellow scientists and world leaders. The IPCC’s work underpins everyone’s (governments, business, activists) work on climate change.

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