How to deal with despair over climate change.
Mary Annaise HeglarNov 27, 2018, 1:02pm EST
The National Climate Assessment released a report last week with a startling warning: climate change could cause more damage to the American economy by 2100 than the 2008 Great Recession. It’s the second report in the last few months with dire predictions for our planet’s future due to global warming: In early October, the revered Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued an equally damning report — more like a prognosis — on our impending climate crisis.
It’s bleak, y’all. The planet has already warmed by 1 degree Celsius. We’d actually passed that threshold right around the time of the Paris climate agreement in 2015. The Paris agreement was meant to keep us from surpassing 2 degrees, and to make best efforts to keep it below 1.5 degrees. Between every single fraction of a degree lies untold levels of death and disease and generalized destruction.
Things are already bad. They are already getting worse. This report reveals — and, for many of us, confirms — that we’re not doing nearly enough to stop things from getting damn apocalyptic.
Many people who don’t think about climate change on a daily basis, or who thought it lived on some distant horizon they would never have to face, are now coming to terms with its terrifying reality. I get it. I’ve worked in the environmental field as a policy editor for nearly five years now.
People like me, and others in “the climate-verse” — activists on the ground, experts in the field, professionals at big greens — have all had that moment when we had to face the reality of climate change. For most of us, that moment hurt. I know it did for me.
I started working in the climate change advocacy world somewhat by accident when I got a job editing policy for an environmental advocacy organization. I cared about the earth, of course, but I wasn’t a hardcore environmentalist.