Is there really a climate emergency?
Easy: yes! Initially scientists exercised rigorous caution as our world began to show symptoms of change. But, more and more research across scientific disciplines has led to the inexorable conclusion that we are currently undergoing unprecedented changes that will affect our climates with potentially calamitous consequences for both our own livelihoods and the natural environment that sustains all life on Earth.
The Climate Emergency can be addressed and we can get the world back in balance – but we have to act now.
Life has inhabited our planet for billions of years, and whilst it has adapted continually throughout this time in response to an ever changing environment, this time it is different. There is no gradual, natural change occurring. There is no cataclysmic event like an asteroid impact to cause carnage. What started with the Industrial Revolution and continues at pace into the 21st century is something very different: while enjoying lifestyles provided by readily available and cheap energy, we are slowly poisoning our environment with the unseen threat of carbon dioxide1.
Life will survive, of that there is no doubt. But, life as we know it, will not. Climate change will bring about extreme weather events, global warming, droughts, floods, famine and rising sea levels will consume vulnerable nations2. The list goes on.
Who is to blame? The harsh reality is every single one of us.
Whilst individual carbon footprints may vary dramatically around the globe, every person who has ever benefited from a combustion engine, walked/run/cycled/driven along a tarmac road, entered a concrete building, flicked a light switch, utilised an object derived from a metallic ore (ie any metal) or crude oil deposit (eg plastic, waxes, rubbers) has contributed.
We have all had a hand in the current climate emergency. Next time you are stuck in a traffic jam, take a look around you: notice the ground you are on, the vehicle you are in, the clothes on your back, the buildings around you. Then replicate that scene in every metropolis, city, town, village and building around our global community of humans, each and every one with their own dreams and desires.
The often wondrous world in which we live has been built on the back of burning and exploiting fossil fuels.
It started with coal and progressed on to gas and oil. Throughout, we created an unseen pollutant which has slowly and imperceptibly changed our environment for the worse. Mankind made a Faustian bargain: almost infinite cheap energy in the short term, but at the cost of the destruction of its environment in the long term3. Like a drug, we have become addicted. And we are starting to enter the payback period.
Fortunately we have finally begun to recognise this and humanity has begun the painful process of weaning itself off fossil fuel addiction. The first step is reduction, but put simply, ‘cold turkey’ is not an option, we are energy addicts. We also have to treat the ailment that finally awakened us to the impending crisis we created for ourselves - the atmospheric Carbon Dioxide that is driving climate change.
We need to stop putting it there, and we need to put it back where it came from, back beneath the surface of our lands and oceans where it can be safely stored away and do no further harm.
That is Seaweed Generation’s mission.
We can’t do it all alone. It needs a multitude of solutions all working together with the common goal of getting as much carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as we can, as quickly as we can; reducing atmospheric CO2 back to pre-industrial levels.
We need as many people active in this space as possible. The planet deserves it. In perhaps the greatest of ironies, we need to mobilise and industrialise the emergency remediation of our planet.
It will take teamwork, drive, passion, grit and determination. It will not be easy. But there is no other option. There is no Planet B. And Planet A deserves our respect, it has given us the gift of life. We have a duty to protect, nurture and care for it in return.
Everyone at Seaweed Generation is committed to this cause. We are environmental warriors, striving to undo the damage that we have all contributed to.
Toward an Inventory of the Impacts of Human-Induced Climate Change (Meteorological Society) ↩
Climate change, nutrient pollution and the bargain of Dr Faustus (Freshwater Biology) ↩