Perspective: Treat Climate Change Like The Next World War

Sep 11, 2019

After 45 years of research into environmental and climatic changes, I’m now more disturbed about our current situation and future than ever. The time for preventing global warming has gone -- we’ve waffled and procrastinated for so long, that now we’re left to mitigate, adapt and suffer. 


We’ve created this situation over just decades. In only the last 25 years we’ve released the majority of carbon dioxide that's in our atmosphere. 2018 saw the greatest global production of carbon dioxide in a single year! Think about that. Paraphrasing David Wallace-Wells, the story of this kamikaze mission driven by our consuming society is the story of a single lifetime! 

Humans have never faced a situation like this; we’ve no historical blueprint or guiding principles on how to manage ourselves. But now we as a global community have some monumental decisions to make about our children’s future within just the next 10 to 25 years -- basically, two or three Presidents worth. 
To prevent extreme outcomes, we need to think of this as a World War of even greater magnitude than past ones. After all, we are in a war to save our entire world, where every human being will be affected, and there’s no escaping to an Earth II. 
It’s so easy to ignore, or maybe even too daunting to think about, as we go about our everyday lives. But we’re now well beyond the luxury of ostrich behavior. As Illinois’ future climate morphs over the next few decades to become more similar to that of northern Texas or South Carolina today, I urge you to think about the magnitude of it and take action, because we need a mobilization the size of which humanity has never seen. 


I’m Ross Powell, and that's my perspective.