Remember 21 December 2012?
It brings back bad memories of fear for some, perhaps, for everyone was so sure that the world was going to end on that day.
There were even movies made about it, books were written on it, and some people even went as far as to make preparations to finish their affairs before the date arrived.
Then, the date actually came, and while we were all cowering in fear wondering when a giant light beam would shoot down from the sky and crack open a big hole in the ground that everything would fall into, the day passed without even a single weird thing affecting the Earth’s physical state.
The World’s Still Standing
Chey, we got scammed. The world didn’t even end for we’re all still here today reading this article, right?
There have been a few dates thrown around after that whole pointless frenzy on when the world is going to end, and most of the predicted dates have passed peacefully.
But what if… the world’s really going to end soon, and it’s actually scientifically proven and not foreseen this time?
Very, Very Close To The Edge
Apparently, the Earth is “getting very, very close to crossing tipping points we won’t be able to get back from”.
This was said by Dr Will Steffen, emeritus professor at the Australian National University and a senior fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, who spoke at the Ecosperity conference in Singapore on 6 June. “We scientists are getting really concerned,” he also added.
4°C is All The Earth Needs To End
4 can also be read as 死, or sei (in Cantonese), which is oddly fitting, if you think about it.
Since 1880, Earth’s average temperature has risen a little over 1°C, which may not actually seem like a lot to us, but it’s a big deal when we’re talking about the average temperature of a surface as big as Earth.
It only takes a total rise of 4°C for us to go from an Ice Age to a hazardous level of global warming.
Due to the rapid acceleration of global warming, Earth’s temperatures have been rising at an increasing rate, leading to increased problems in the biosphere.
Species Extinction A Sign
“This is why we’re seeing that polar bear struggling to get out of water. This is why in Australia, we see flying foxes drop dead out of the sky when they try to fly out of extreme heat. And it’s happening all over the planet because the natural world cannot deal with that rapid change,” Dr Steffen said.
The rate of species extinction is also on the rise, and we are apparently well on our way to towards the sixth mass extinction to ever occur in Earth’s history.
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And it’s the first one driven by a biological species like human beings itself as well. Now that’s scary.
Thanks to our “predatory economic system”, our economies, livelihoods, food, security, health, and quality of life have been negatively affected by humanity and are slowly eroding away.
In a nutshell? We are going through resources at a rate that’s way too fast.
Change Is Desperately Needed
Dr Steffen campaigned for change, saying: “We need to get rid of this idea of ‘resources, resources, resources’. We need to be regenerative by design and that is what the economic system of the 21st century must look like.”
There also hasn’t been any noticeable change so far about how resources are being used, despite carbon dioxide levels increasing at a speedy pace in recent years.
“Something has to change because we have no more time. I would say yesterday is when we should have been acting. It is getting that dire,” he added. Sounds really serious.
Dr Steffen also talked about the nine planetary boundaries. It may sound damn cheem, but it’s actually pretty simple.
It’s basically a theory involving environmental boundaries on issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and ocean acidification.
According to it, human development does impact these boundaries, and if we push beyond the limits, Earth will no longer be able to support human civilisation.
He said that this theory could serve as guidance for humans in our path to work towards more sustainable development.
“We are very close to hitting that fork in the road and we’ve to make sure we steer Earth on the right path. The heat is on, so to speak, and we’ve to start turning words into action. And that has to happen now, not in the distant future.”
It’s Not Too Late, Though
Looks like we’re in trouble, but it’s not too late to start making small changes aimed at saving our planet.
Just like using metal or bamboo straws in the trending movement to ban plastic straws, which as many as 270 eateries and more in Singapore are going to stop providing.
If we don’t, well, doomsday will happen for real this time, caused by our very own hands.
So as much as you hate (or love) that Save My World song that’s annoyingly catchy, it’s time to listen.
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