Greta Thunberg doesn’t want you to make her a hero, but to take action, and it must be now!

By Hitesh Mahawar
Posted on 23rd February 2023
Greta Thunberg, 16, environmental activist and a student
Greta Thunberg, 16, environmental activist and a student | Photo: DANIEL REINHARDT/PICTURE ALLIANCE/GETTY

“Climate Crisis”…have you heard this term often lately? If yes then you can do something if you want to save the planet, if not then I can only pray to God or you can at least read this article to get an idea.

Just to set the context, here are some of the facts and figures:
1.     The current warming rate is around 10 times faster than the avg. rate of ice-age recovery warming. Since 2010, the earth has recorded five warmest years, and 2016 was the warmest year on record.
2.     1,000,000+ species face extinction. Around 5 species a year is the probable rate of species extinction, but we are losing up to ten thousand times faster than the normal rate. This implies that 5–6 species go extinct every hour.
3.     The world’s tropical forests are reducing at a shocking rate, comparable to one football pitch in every two seconds. In the year 2018, the planet earth lost 120,000 km2 of tropical forest.
4.     In the last decade, the Antarctica ice mass loss rate has tripled. Glaciers are now retreating from almost everywhere across the globe — including the Himalayas, Alaska, Andes, Rockies, Alps, and Africa. Antarctica lost about 127 billion tons of ice per year between the period 1993 and 2016.
5.     Average sea levels have risen over 8 inches in the last century, and about three inches gained over the last twenty-five years. The rate has doubled in the last two decades compared with the previous century, and it is increasing every year.
6.     There is a 60% drop in average wildlife populations in just over 4 decades. Climate Change is considered to be the 3rd biggest driver of biodiversity loss after over-exploitation of natural resources and changes in land and sea use.
7.     We are living in a time where there’s more CO2 in our environment than at any time in human history. The same amount of CO2 contained by the earth’s atmosphere was more than three million years ago. Climate scientists have alerted that high CO2 levels will lead to terrible and irreversible changes in the climate.
8.     11% of the world’s population i.e. around 800 million people are susceptible to climate change impacts such as floods, sea-level rise, droughts, and extreme weather events.
9.     Our oceans are dying every day. Our planet is only as good as its oceans. United Nations has alerted that aquatic life faces permanent damage as every year, millions of tonnes of plastic waste end up in our oceans. Half of the world’s coral reefs have died in just the last thirty years.
10.     Climate change could be irreversible by 2030.

It is enough to understand the gravity of the situation if you are still not convinced then wait for some years and you willable to see yourself.

Climate change is real and it is changing our surroundings every day, at a rate that we can’t imagine. If we will not act now it will be too late to come back. 97% of the world climate scientists agree that human activities are the reason for climate crisis across the globe and the burning of fossil fuels contributes maximum to this problem. But the matter of the fact is that ‘we’ common people don’t give a damn about what the scientists are saying or we are so busy in our lives that we forget to take care of the surroundings in which we are living.

Imagine or you don’t have to imagine as we will seethe disaster which we are creating for our future generation, in the near future if we will not do anything about this situation. All countries are adversely affected by global warming, but the most vulnerable sections of the society are the biggest victims and the regions which are least responsible for creating this adverse situation.

Temperature rise, untimely heavy rainfalls, sea-level rise, biodiversity loss, strong storms are some of the signs which we can observe and they indicate that something is not right or changing. We have to respond to this, not individually, but collectively, be it governments, industries, policymakers, activists, and most importantly WE, the common people.

Limiting the temperature rise to 1.5°C is not impossible but it will only be possible with the extraordinary changes in all the aspects of society and the way we live and lead our lives. Every step to tackle the climate crisis should be appreciated and replicated in every part of the world, if possible. Industries must take climate-appropriate measures proactively, the govt. must regularize the resources and the implementation of the laws and policy, policymakers should come up with some strict policies for all stakeholders, activists must not stop raising the red flags and be the torchbearers. People should make the government accountable and also bring changes in their day-to-day lives and come out from their comfort zones. Small steps can bring big changes if we agree to do so.

Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old girl, a student, and a climate activist. Today, She is holding a mirror for all those, above her age and reminding them that this earth is not something which we can use and go. But we borrowed it from our ancestors and we’re liable to give it to our future generations, and our children. We can’t be selfish and close our eyes to what is happening and leading towards the climate crisis. We must do something and do it now. We should respond to her appeal and strengthen her voice with actions.

To contribute towards the fight against climate change, the least we can do is plant a tree. Trees are some of the cheapest and best solutions we have to save our planet and each one of us can do that. Planting a tree is not difficult, especially in this era of technology. There are several organizations that are helping and running tree plantation campaigns, Grow-Trees is one organization where one can pledge online to plant a tree with a nominal charge and the organization will plant a tree on your behalf. Some activities or habits which we should adhere to and try to inculcate to save our planet are given below. You may think of something different, and also follow the link to know more about such activities:

Greta Thunberg holding a placard saying "SKOLSTREJK FOR KLIMATET"
Greta | Photo: Hanna Franzen/AFP/Getty Image

 Actions which you can easily take:
·        The use of are fillable water bottle and coffee cup is a good idea to start.
·        Bring your carry bag when you go to the shop.
·        Take short showers. Preferably a 5-minute shower.
·        Shop local. It keeps people employed and helps prevent the burning of fossil fuels which is required to bring it from far distances otherwise.
·        Take public transport, use a bike and walk whenever you get time and occasion to keep yourself healthy and fit.
·        Eat less meat, poultry, and fish (completely your choice), but FYI, more resources and energy are used to provide meat food than plant food.
·        Air dry. Let your clothes and hair dry naturally rather than a machine.
·        Save electricity by turning the appliances off when not using, including computers.
·        Stop paper bills and pay online.
·        Don’t throw the unwanted fruit or snack. Give it to someone who needs it.
·        Try to reduce any type of waste, since the majority of the waste ends up in our oceans.
·        Inspire and mentor young people. Guide them towards a better and sustainable future.
·        Speak up! Ask your company/organization and govt. to engage in or hold initiatives that are green and sustainable.
·        Corporate Social Responsibility can play a very positive role where companies will get an opportunity to work with civil society and find out ways to help indigenous communities and the planet to achieve their goals.
·        Exercise your right to elect the leaders who can take green initiatives and proactively support sustainable development in your country and the local community.
·        Share, don’t just like. Share it so your friends and colleague in your network see it too.
·        Stay informed.