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Why I don’t give a S#!” about Aleppo, and neither should you

The following post gives a quick breakdown of how the horrors in Aleppo are a symptom of a much bigger problem: Climate change. The post argues that even though every fiber of your body may want to fix the situation by attending marches or giving humanitarian aid, there is a better way. A more rational action is to fight climate change and prevent a crisis like this from becoming everyday news.

 

If you’ve read the news within the past 48hours, you know that nothing less of a manslaughter is happening in Aleppo.

Men, women, and children are being gunned down in the streets or burned alive. The latest death toll I’m aware of is 82 souls. But by now who knows how many.

If you can stomach it, here is the news about Aleppo.

Why I don’t give a damn*

I see many of my friends crying out for action on social media. I see them signing up for marched, signing petitions. I see them putting heart, time, and energy into this.

I won’t.

Because I believe other nations should clean up their own mess? —No.

Because I don’t give a damn about people in Syria? —No.

Because I’m a heartless bitch? —In part. I am a rational bitch

I am a rational bitch — I believe in treating the cause, not the symptom.

There have been a few scientific articles published, naming a very specific factor in the Syrian crisis. Do you know what it is? I’ll give you a hint: it’s a hot topic (pun intended).

Yep, it’s climate change! (Important — Climate change is not the only factor, but a “threat multiplier;” meaning its effects are  greatest in areas that are already environmentally and socially unstable).

You can read the whole thing here, but the super short version is this:

 

  • Climate change –>
  • Drought –>
  • Farmers abandoning farms looking for jobs in the overcrowded cities + Rising food prices –>
  • High food prices + high unemployment rates = Political destabilization –>
  • Riots –>
  • Chaos.

Is it really that simple? No, the above is the short version. There are of course also a number of political factors to take into account. But had it not been for these first effects of climate change, the situation would not have escalated.

Whichever way you turn it, climate change is a is a big looming beast, either creating or worsening a situation.

According to the UN; The World’s Food Supply is Made Insecure by Climate Change.

Things might stay peachy and safe where you live, but guess what, people tend to move away from areas where there is no food.

But wait… There’s more.

As permafrost in Siberia is melting, methane gas, (which makes CO2 look like nothing) is oozing into the atmosphere, at an alarming rate. This article in Science Advances suggests the methane will cause a positive feedback loop.

That’s like getting a positive HIV test. Not a good thing.

So a positive feedback loop will heat up the earth, releasing even more greenhouse gases, heating the earth further, releasing even more gas… You get the picture.

And the results?

We might see a global temperature rise of between 4.47C and 7.36C, in 2100! This will cause runaway greenhouse gas effect and will turn earth into Venus.

 

A runaway greenhouse effect is a process in which a net positive feedback between surface temperature and atmospheric opacity increases the strength of the greenhouse effect on a planet until its oceans boil away. An example of this is believed to have happened in the early history of Venus. – Wikipedia

 

Let’s do the math: Unless you are already retired, this will affect you. Not your children, or your grandchildren, but you.

What to do:

  • Vote! Vote, vote, vote. On a candidate/party with a proven record of working to stop climate change. (Oh, ps. If you are inclined to vote for a party which gives you tax breaks, promises you retirement standard or a low premium on health care just remember: None of these things matter if you are dead, and a zero atmosphere earth will do that to you)
  • Get organized! Find a group of people who are already working on this, and use whatever skills you have to help
  • Talk to people about this. I’ll try to post as much as I can about how to talk with people about climate change, and I’ll gladly answer any question you ask me in the comments, or via e-mail.

 

*Of course I care about the massacre in Syria, and so should you. It hurts to the level where I can hardly breathe. But all of life on earth is a risk — we need to think and act long term.

I’m very conflicted about posting this, as I realize it has shit storm potential. Please understand that my reason for writing this is not to belittle the atrocious things happening in Syria. My reason is to raise awareness about an even bigger issue. One that will in the future only result in more horrific events like the one happening in Aleppo. We have the work at the root of the illness, not just the symptoms.

If we want to avoid more situations like Aleppo, we need to act on not just Syria, but global climate change.

You’re not paranoid if it’s actually happening – How a hand full of players are putting the world, and you, at risk

In the past few months, there have been 3 big stories, that will make your head spin.

They are not all directly related to climate change, but they change the world in similar ways and are symptoms of a disease-ridden system that we need to change if we want a chance at stopping a global climate crisis.

We really need a change in the way we monitor global industries and sectors, as a few big players are cashing in while putting the rest of the world in mortal danger –yes, mortal.

 

Don’t worry, I have easy steps for you at the end of the post.

 

So let just jump right in and look at the 3 culprits.

1) A fertilizer cartel sparked the 2008 food crisis, pushing 44million people into poverty.

2) Exxon mobile kept its data on the fossil fuel-climate change link secret for 30 years, lobbying against the academic research which supported the fact, that global climate change is a) real, and b) linked to fossil fuels.

3) The sugar industry lobbied against the research linking a high carbohydrate intake (a Mc-Diet, if you will) to diabetes, heart decided, cardiovascular decease and more.

 

This is why we can’t have nice things. We have a world full of people trying to do good and change the world for the better. And then we have a few corporations, and industries bring positive development to a halt.

They have investors and their sole purpose in the world is to make money. But you know what, you can make money without lying, without pushing millions into poverty, without covering up vital health information, and most importantly, without almost killing off all life on earth.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’m a bit angry with these industries. While writing this, I thought to myself;

Damn, this can’t be true. Am I exaggerating?

Unfortunately no, this is not something I made up. This is actually happening. Like I said, you’re not paranoid if it’s actually happening. But it really does sound more like the plot of a movie, than real life.

 

So the world sucks, why does it matter?

Well, of course, we should prevent our industries from killing us, that goes without saying, but there’s more to it.

In a world where 44 million people can be pushed into poverty, and the world can suffer a global food crisis, because of a fertilizer cartel, many of the political, and financial incentives of making the world better doesn’t mean diddly-squat. Things like securing emission reduction and imposing anti-pollution legislation become wishful thinking.

We need to create a system of finance, and of governance, where the above is not possible. Where money does not trump human lives, and the future of our planet. This should not be wishful thinking.

 

It is not too much to ask, that the industries who power our homes, farm our soils, and produce our food, don’t kill us.

 

What can you do? Small, Medium, or Big step?

Taking action doesn’t need to be excruciating, and about saving the world all at once. Every action matters, and we all give what we can. Even if you can just take a small step, it’s still a step. It’s still something you did to change the situation. Well done, you!

Small step: Get educated – read the above articles

Medium step: Vote for a party, or candidate, that takes action on these issues (I Fucking Love Science agrees with me on this one)

Big step: Find an organization that actively works against the above mentioned, and get involved

 

How do you measure the importance of a political issue? If it airs on Netflix.

Ladies and gents, I present to you the global acceptance of climate change and the policies needed to avoid local and global energy crises. Now brought to you in prime time.

 

There is a telling moment at the end of the first episode of Occupied, the highly entertaining new Norwegian TV political thriller, now available in the United States on Netflix (with subtitles!).

One of the main characters, sitting in a cafe with his family, looks bleakly through the glass at the shoppers in the mall outside, knowing they are oblivious to how fragile their world has just become.

 

This is how Slate starts the chilling and exciting review of the new political thriller Occupie. The show tackles the issue of climate change and global energy policy, set in a not so distant future. (Read a full review here)

 

Why does it matter?

By January 19th, 2016, Netflix had 75 million subscribers worldwide. 40 million of them located in the US. Like it or not, the United States of America still has a lot of influence on global climate policy.

In 2015, a warbling 40% of the American public didn’t see climate change as a threat.

Currently, none of their Republican presidential candidates believe climate change to be a serious issue. And let’s not get started on the senate.

To air a Norwegian show about climate policy, in a country where half of the population think it’s overrated, is not just a small an insignificant action. It is a reflection of the world and the issues we deal with in this world. The time is right for this. And the American public needs to wake up to this new world and new reality, and demand more from their politicians.

 

Watching the world change through our TV

children-tv-Monajensen

The entertainment sector is helping, in the way that it is both a strong indicator of hot topics and a driver of discussions. Follow the hot topics, find the power and money. Airing a show like this just 2 years ago would have been unthinkable, but in the wake of the COP21 agreement, it makes perfect sense.

Steps like this will bring the discussion of climate change and energy policy from the universities and political areas, into the living rooms and kitchens. And this is where the real change happens.

Airing Occupied on Netflix will pave the way for a national debate in the US. These debates will influence the political arena, as voters go where they feel heard. A change in the political arena will then, eventually, lead to a change in policy. Just think about LGBT rights and minimum wages as a few recent examples of policy changes in the US – for giggles, google the top shows on Netflix in the years leading up to it.

 

The big difference here is, the rest of the world would benefit from not continuously banging our head against the US wall of climate ignorance.

 

Yes, I said it. 40% people, the numbers speak for themselves.

Global climate policy needs the US on board if it is to run smoothly, and the US needs to get on board before China and Russia completely steal the climate spotlight. I would love to elaborate on this, but for now, I am fresh out of time.

So there you go, a very short post, about climate change and “prime time TV”.

I for one will be looking forward to Occupied.

 

Oh, and Netflix, though I am highly frustrated with your pricing scheme, and the fact that I can’t watch same shows in Denmark, as in the US, I will say this to you: Well played, well played.