|Earth recently hit 415 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — a level never seen before in human history, until now. It is also a level the planet has not seen for three million years.
We’re already in the Sixth Mass Extinction Event, as a recent intergovernmental report showed, yet another 1 million species are headed for extinction at our current trajectory of habitat destruction, hunting, pesticide use, and impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption.
Not long ago the grim warning from the International Energy Agency of a possible 6°C increase in planetary temperatures by just 2050 sounded absurd, even hysterical. Today, given that 2018 was another record year of CO2 emissions — with many scientists believing we already have a minimum of 3°C baked into the system even if we ceased all CO2 emissions tomorrow — and climate feedback loops already set in motion like the melting of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Arctic Sea Ice from below, this apocalyptic prediction no longer appears as impossible.
How, then, shall we live?
The dire nature of this crisis is akin to receiving a terminal diagnosis from a doctor: Most of us would want to know if we weren’t going to have the opportunity to live into our autumn years and, given said diagnosis, we would each make very different decisions about how to use the gift of time brought about with each passing day. How we treat those we care about, how we use our time on Earth, what we decide to dedicate our lives to… all of this would change. While there is always the chance of a terminal diagnosis being incorrect, who is willing to risk wasting this moment?
I’ve never been one to sugarcoat the climate crisis. I can think of no other outlet that would’ve given me the opportunity to report on the climate crisis as frankly and honestly as Truthout has. Despite the incredible challenge, I remain committed to this truth-telling on the biggest crisis humans have ever faced. But to keep up this crucial coverage, Truthout needs your support, now more than ever…
Dahr Jamail, Staff Reporter
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