It’s the talk of the town, for the left-wing at least: climate change. With all of its menacing effects so far (displacement of both wildlife and people in the Arctic region is just one downfall), we still have yet to hear the Republicans utter a word, except to denounce the existence of it, but will this recent report change their tune? According to Time, the World Bank announced Sunday that climate change will push over 100 million people into poverty by 2030. This is not only an issue of carbon- and methane-polluted air, or our beloved polar bears running out of space to live on. This is now more than ever an issue of the well-being of humankind. No one can or should ignore this.
The report states that “climate change could lead to a 5 percent decline in crop yields” by 2030, and that “disease spread during extreme weather events also threaten to exacerbate global poverty.” The loss of crops would likely be highlighted in poor countries around the world. The southern regions of Africa where the Sahara has already been spreading will be feeling the heavy hits of climate change for years to come — and don’t we as a rich country, with extensive power in the United Nations, have a responsibility to protect other people? California is arguably already facing the consequences of global warming, with an intense drought that is exponentially worsened by the frequency of wildfires. We have to take action against emissions not only from cars and factories, but also from agriculture and livestock — both largely overlooked polluters.
Climate change already affects the poor most of all. As I mentioned before, California is in a drought, yet the rich patrons of Beverly Hills and Orange County weren’t forced to cut back until it was a federal initiative. This past summer, I remember hearing that Tom Selleck tried to steal water from a public fire hydrant in order to water his ranch. The dwellers of the mansions of 90210 demanded that their lush lawns be kept beautiful by not holding to the two days a week limit of watering, and were fine with paying any fines. That, right there, is privilege. When a country becomes overwhelmingly impoverished due to crop loss and environment desertification you can bet that those at the top of the economic chain are going to be living it up, using their money to keep their beloved fruits and vegetables on the table, no matter where they come from. Climate change is going to reveal who the true philanthropists of our world are, who is willing to step up, possibly outside of their inherent beliefs, and take a stand against global warming, and who is not.
A report like this changes the game of the 2016 election. Already the Republican candidates have been able to dodge the question, or all have responded with the same excuse of not being a scientist, therefore being unable to form a conclusion on the matter. Now that this has become an issue of our economy, it’s necessary to throw the subject at them repeatedly and demand a clear and concise response, because this matters. There’s no more room for excuses; this is happening and happening fairly rapidly. In order to make a change we need a president who is willing to fight hard to make radical change for America, which will hopefully influence other powerful nations, such as China and Russia. For instance, President Barack Obama last month negotiated with China to work to lower emissions and set up the U.N. Climate Change conference which will be held in Paris in December. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders released the following day on his website the report and a call to reduce carbon emissions in order to help prevent the catastrophe of desertification which leads to crop loss and deracination of peoples. Candidates like this are the push that Washington still needs to go green and cut the “pollution doesn’t matter” crap.
We cannot afford to ignore climate change anymore. Too many people are at risk of being pushed to the extreme form of living, and we as humankind should not allow this to happen on our watch. Although warming has already occurred somewhat past the point of no return, we can fix it before it gets even worse. We can cut back on unnecessary waste of plastic, reduce our use of greenhouse gases, and very importantly, decrease our dependence on methane-producing agriculture and livestock that destroy habitats and pollute our bodies of water. In order to do this, we can take action by supporting local recycling and environment protection programs, global initiatives via petition websites, support candidates that identify climate change as the true massive problem that it is, and on a more personal level, consider adapting to a cleaner vegetarian diet that cuts back the dependence on livestock for food.