31 years ago, the year I was born, NASA scientist Jason Hansen told US Congress that the age of climate change had arrived. Until then, scientists had been cautious about attributing rising global temperatures to an increase of pollutants in the atmosphere. But in 1988, Hansen confirmed that NASA was certain that the warming trend was not a natural variation, and that human activities have altered the global climate in a manner that will impact life on earth for centuries to come. Hansen’s words now reflect a consensus among the scientific community.
Since 1988, global emissions have risen more than 70%. Fossil fuels still provide a majority of the world’s energy needs, and our actions are systematically disrupting life on earth as we know it. The earth is noticeably hotter, and weather is more extreme. We have experienced both record high and record low temperatures. Polar regions have lost unprecedented amount of ice, causing sea levels to rise by trillions of litres of water. Dry areas are becoming drier, causing more wildfires to rage across the land. On the other hand, wet areas are becoming wetter, causing disastrous flooding.
Thirty-one years later, we aren’t even close to solving climate change. If climate change was a problem thirty-one years ago, it is now an emergency. Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that we only have a dozen more years to limit climate change beyond dangerous levels. Climate change is already dismantling the lives and livelihoods of people across our world. And each year that we wait, we are making the problem worse, and the solutions harder to achieve. The fossil fuel industry must be fought, and the governments that support the fossil fuel economy must be replaced.
There is a proverb that says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” In this case, the years gone are thirty-one. Jason Hansen’s predictions were bang on (if not conservative) and we can’t keep our heads in the sand any longer. For my 31st birthday on April 3rd, I am asking you to please give as generously as possible to the Saskatchewan Environmental Society.
This organization has been working tirelessly for nearly fifty years on environmental issues, with a massive emphasis on climate change. In a province with the highest per-capita greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and led by a government that continues to value the economy over its constituents and the environment, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society truly needs ample support in order to continue being the voice of reason that I depend on—the voice that the public depends on.
I often feel as though I am drowning in anxiety about the state of our world. We are stealing so much from future generations. It’s easy to be complicit when you hold privilege, so I try my best to stay aware, take action, and help create hope. I know a better world is possible. I am so grateful that you’ve read this message, and I am so thankful to those of you who are able to contribute. Thank you so, so much!
[Edit: As of April 4th, friends & family have helped me raise $575 for the Saskatchewan Environmental Society! I am so humbled & grateful. If you are just coming across this post and are keen to donate to SES, you can always do so here: bit.ly/SupportSES]