People are feeling uneasy: a storm is literally brewing in front of their doors - helpless and waiting for it to arrive. Climate change is real, yet the solutions are limited, leading to overall denial and startling unhappiness. Often your work is futile in this matter - or even supports the oil industry indirectly. Even worse, the issue was known back in 1991 - shown by this leaked Shell documentary - and nothing substantial has been done since. At this point, any solution seems pointless and the future inevitable. How to handle this on a personal level, and keeping yourself motivated? A pragmatic take on the future: welcome to our future world.
Only 2% of the energy is renewable
Currently in The Netherlands, only 2% of the energy is renewable energy. Actually 5.8% was reported in 2016 out of which 4% - be surprised - are imported wooden pallets from Canada to somehow meet our renewable energy goals. A staggering low amount. Can you imagine that most Dutch people think renewables account for 40% of the total? Even the 5.8% number is incredibly demotivating and far from any solution. Whatever the outcome, only two results are available: Either we fix it or we don't.
We fix it!?
Even though the future looks grim now, many technologies now or future ones may help us combat the effects significantly. CO2 storage for instance, or clean energy transitioning on a massive scale, even real-time CO2 tracking (a la google maps) and immediate punishment. Many possibilities may come to pass so that humanity is not set for destruction.
This is the scenario I worry about. If we cannot contain it, and the world spirals itself in ever-worsening climate conditions (which perhaps is already unstoppable due to atmospheric conditions). What then? Yes, there will be extreme pain unlike humanity has ever seen on a massive scale: worldwide wars, resource attrition, drowning, storms, extinction of diverse life, extreme temperatures. Yet, after a lot of thought: So what? The future is how the future is. You, We, can do everything in our power but if that is not enough - then there is no room for any regret.
"But what if I didn't do enough?"
You did what you think was best at the time - a famous poker thought. As you do now. Even leisure time and having time off and fun are very important for health & happiness. Of course, purposely ignoring the obvious, not educating yourself, or having great pride ('unnecessarily driving an SUV') can be unforgivable later on your death bed by yourself, or from the ones you love.
"How does this affect me?"
Even if you care and believe in science - what can you do? One person or even a group or country cannot contain this solely. Any effort can feel meaningless in face of an unchangeable future. Still, you can be your best self, and not strive to be a better 'Elon Musk' 4. I want to believe that everyone has a valuable talent in this somehow. Despite the results, the mere effort of combating climate change in itself is meaningful. Trying to protect humanity and diverse life is sufficient motivation.
Basically, you do what you can, out of which:
- A climate neutral house
- Spending some spare time on clean energy research
- Using electric transport
- Recycling & waste separation
- More green
- Increasing awareness
- Lessening consumption, meat in particular
- Having a maximum of two children
- Voting a political party acting on climate change
Thank you for reading. I look forward to your thoughts, ideas or solutions!
1. Guardian article "fossil fuels should remain in ground": https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/22/earth-day-scientists-warning-fossil-fuels-
2. ABN AMRO Analysis "na aardgas komt zonneschijn": https://insights.abnamro.nl/2016/09/na-aardgas-komt-zonneschijn/
3. Short Video "Satelite CO2 Data from Nasa": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1SgmFa0r04
4. Elon Musk is someone well-known in stimulating clean energy by being involved in Tesla (eletric cars) and Solarcity (solarpanels)
5. A Climate neutral house: no gas usage, white roof and solar panels
6. On Dutch political parties: https://decorrespondent.nl/6353/dit-zijn-de-partijen-die-klimaatverandering-serieus-tegengaan/1895115426732-be6e8ec4