Our environment is an absolute wreck. The damage that we have done to it is going to take a lot of resilience and patience to undo. It is difficult to know where to begin when dealing with issues as massive as this; however, being informed about issues going on right now is a vital first step to healing the Earth. The following are several different events that are threatening our environment that need to be noted before something disastrous occurs.
The Climate Clock
Released on September 17, 2020, “[The Climate Clock] is arguably the most important number in the world” (Machemer). This clock represents the amount of time we have left before the effects of Global Warming become irreversible. The art, which was masterminded by artists Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd, was inspired by the Doomsday Clock, the approximate representation of how close we are to the apocalypse, and the National Debt Clock, which shows how much debt the U.S currently has and how much each family owes if it is split among us evenly. The time we have left, the red numbers on the clock, are based on calculations done by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change in Berlin. While the time on this clock caught us all by surprise, there is another small percentage in green next to it. This is the “fraction of energy produced with renewable sources, which they call the lifeline” (Machemer). Simply put, we have to get that number to reach 100% before we reach our deadline, or else we are in trouble. Why is this so important? Well, we will face horrible disasters as a result of climate change. There will be long droughts, which can start wildfires like the ones we are currently seeing on the west coast of the United States and the ones we saw in Australia earlier in the year. Severe weather will become constant, and sea levels will rise which will cause severe flooding in coastal cities and countries.
Remember the mention of the increased wildfires? Well, here they are. 2020 began with “record-breaking wildfires”(Chow) in regions of Australia that burned through more than 65,00 square miles, an area slightly larger than the entire state of Illinois. Then came deadly fires that rampaged across Siberia in July of this year. Then of course we get to the Western Coast of the United States, consisting of California, Oregon, and Washington. 2020 has proven to be the “most active fire year on record for the West Coast”(Migliozzi). More than five million acres have been burned in total on the West Coast and have released an excess of air pollution to millions living under this toxic cloud resulting in more than two dozen deaths. According to Susan Prichard, an accredited forest ecologist who has been studying wildfires since the 1990s, “The future we were really worried about and that us climate scientists talked about for decades, we’re living through now” (Chow); therefore, the time to act and hold people accountable for the environment's deterioration is now.
Chow, Denise. “As Wildfires Rage, Climate Experts Warn: The Future We Were Worried about Is Here.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 18 Sept. 2020, www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/wildfires-rage-climate-experts-warn-future-we-were-worried-about-n1240456
Elizabeth Pennisi Sep. 30, 2020, et al. “As Wildfires Continue in Western United States, Biologists Fear for Vulnerable Species.” Science, 30 Sept. 2020, www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/09/wildfires-continue-western-united-states-biologists-fear-vulnerable-species
Machemer, Theresa. “Clock in New York Counts Down the Time Remaining to Avert Climate Disaster.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 22 Sept. 2020, www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/clock-new-york-counts-down-time-remaining-avert-climate-disaster-180975881/
Migliozzi, Blacki, et al. “Record Wildfires on the West Coast Are Capping a Disastrous Decade.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Sept. 2020, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/24/climate/fires-worst-year-california-oregon-washington.html
Moynihan, Colin. “A New York Clock That Told Time Now Tells the Time Remaining.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Sept. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/09/20/arts/design/climate-clock-metronome-nyc.html