Climate change and elections: the price we will pay for not being willing to act

Images like those in the figure above, although not new, are becoming more common as time passes and the worst consequences of climate change become closer and more real.

One of the great causes of inaction, according to scientists, is the inability of human beings to react and shape their behavior in the face of threats that are distant in time. If someone says that in a thousand years the average sea water level could rise up to eighty meters, the truth is that no one will care much.

The threats, however, arising from climate change are much closer. They are beginning to make themselves felt in the present and threaten not the distant future, but the future of our children and grandchildren.

This economic level also has implications.

Home insurance in coastal locations or in areas close to forests has been increasing in a worrying way for those who live in these areas (such as in California). Coastal erosion has already caused intense damage to homes built very close to the seafront. And it won’t be long before the real estate sector starts to be affected. After all, who wants to buy a house in places that in 50 years may have the sea more than “at the door†, around the house?

In the run-up to yet another elections, European ones in this case, I cannot help but reflect on our role in this situation.

There is another cause for inaction, which is cognitive dissonance, a separation from reality that helps us internally justify our role in all of this.

Thus, we observe those who say to themselves “the problem is too bigâ€; It’s not my actions that will change anything†; or even “why do something if everyone else continues the same†.

Then there are those who justify themselves “ah, I recycle and buy biodegradable materials and verdes, so I can continue to do this and that.” Sometimes they are even a combination of both of these positions.

But the reality that we should start facing is that climate change is not the problem, but rather the consequence.

Consequence of the options we individually and collectively make.

Consequence of our dependence on fossil fuels and everything that this involves, namely deforestation and loss of biodiversity.

Climate change is intrinsically related to our lifestyle and the energy monopoly that companies that exploit fossil fuels have created and to which we are subject.

It is essential that we can relate things.

For example: relating deforestation in the Amazon to levels of meat consumption; the extinction of corals due to the fact that we drive cars that burn fossil fuels; or the prolonged drought in a vast number of countries and the number of planes that cross the skies around the world or cruises that cross the seas.

Naturally, if there was enough pressure from consumers, this business model would no longer be so profitable and such companies would have to adapt, moving their capital.

And if, on the one hand, it is our choices as consumers that dictate these processes and, consequently, have responsibilities regarding the climate changes that are underway – be it driving combustion vehicles internal, eat meat, travel by plane, buy clothes fast fashionetc., the truth is that our individual choices, by themselves, have little weight in the general picture.

That said, the options we make as individuals signal a desire for change in society and make it easier to justify systemic changes that are essential to combat climate change and prevent the worst effects of climate change.

If we are responsible for the emissions that cause the greenhouse effect that causes the climate chaos that we are beginning to face, it is our actions that can promote change.

Riding a bicycle or taking public transport, reducing or eliminating meat consumption, flying less, buying less clothes or opting for second-hand clothes, installing solar panels, are choices that will produce direct impacts on climate change.

And what is the most relevant action we can take to combat climate change?

Vote for Parties that promote the protection of the environment and biodiversity.

Vote for Parties that are committed to promoting an energy transition and combating dependence on fossil fuels.

Vote for Parties that will eliminate subsidies to fossil fuel exploration companies and livestock farming1.

The price to pay will be as high as the time it takes us to act.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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