From climate fires and insect epidemics to megadroughts and climate hurricanes, man-made global heating is terrifying! All hands on deck.
This Monday evening, satellite data from Hurricane Eta revealed sustained winds of 190 mph (306 kph) at its core. This climate hurricane in the North Atlantic was the strongest storm so far recorded, and the only Category 5 hurricane ever to form in the Atlantic during November.
On Tuesday, Eta delivered an unsurvivable 21-foot (6.4 m) storm surge to northern Nicaragua and southern Honduras. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), nearly 500,000 children (Gen Zs) were in danger of becoming climate refugees.
Meanwhile, Eta has left the ravaged landfall and is drawing energy from the warm Caribbean Sea while moving slowly northeast towards the Florida Keys.
It’s up to every citizen to lend a helping hand and reduce combustion heat. That heat is accelerating and supercharging the oceans. The oceans drive Earth’s climate, which has become unstable and fraught with horrendous climate catastrophes and massive morgues with billions of animals.
The single biggest immediate act that each of us can accomplish to combat the climate in crisis is to switch to a whole food plant-based diet. It’s easy, healthy, water-smart, compassionate and climate-friendly.
Moreover, animal agriculture and clearing invaluable old-growth forests to grow more animal feed is contributing over 51 percent of all the climate-wrecking greenhouse gases. Quite simply, the only way a midcentury population of almost 10 billion humans (the Gen Zs and their children) can continue to colonize Earth, is by all becoming vegans.
Become the force of change that Mother Earth and our brethren and sistren, the animals, require in order for us all to coexist.
The second most important thing each of us can do is to speak up about the injustice of global heating and a lack of a climate battle plan. Talk with your family and friends. Voice your concerns on social media. Write a letter (not an email) to your elected officials and urge them to stop seismic fossil fuel exploration, offshore drilling, cease the fossil fuel incursion into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and end water-poisoning fracking. Demand that the lawmakers halt the annual $5.3 trillion fossil fuel subsidies. Instead, they must marshal all the industries into a World War III effort to create a zero-combustion economy by 2030. (All letters to elected officials are logged into government registries, which means that the lawmakers must respond.)
Join the climate strikes because it takes just 3.5% percent of an active population to force societal change. That means we need about 273 million people from all four corners of the world doggedly demanding climate justice. When the Indigenous Peoples, animal activists, vegans, environmentalists, conservationists, scientists, teachers, concerned citizens, parents, grandparents and Gen Zs band together, we have the numbers in spades!
The largest carbon footprint that each of us incurs is from our homes. Heating and cooling units account for 50 percent of it. Changing your air filters twice annually and regularly servicing your furnace and air conditioning units saves energy and, in turn, your money. Install ceiling fans to circulate the air. They draw miniscule amounts of energy while keeping homes warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. If you can finance solar and battery packs, then do so. If not, purchase the renewable option from your utility provider. If none are available then consider buying carbon credits.
Purchase power strip bars and plug all your electronic devices into them. When you leave a room, turn off the power bar thereby terminating the expensive electricity bleed from stand by modes. That profligate energy is called ‘phantom electricity’. It adds up annually in America to the output of 50 large power plants.
When you eventually purchase new home appliances, ensure that they are Energy Star certified because they use significantly less energy.
Reducing home water waste also helps to cut carbon pollution. Pumping, heating and treating water costs energy. Ultra low flow faucets, showerheads and toilets are inexpensive and easy to install. Take shorter showers. Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth. If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down. Always use a cold water setting to wash your clothes and a clothesline instead of a dryer. The sun’s rays are a potent disinfector.
Grow fruit-bearing food. Plant at least two fruit or nut saplings in your yard.
Do not use any chemicals. Place wood chips around the base of the trees to conserve water and promote earthworms. They are the unsung ploughmen of the soils, the skin of the earth. Soils are an excellent carbon sink (storage site for absorbing carbon dioxide). Plant rain gardens, they help to protect and build the soils.
Small things indeed matter. Walk more. Drive much less. Use a bicycle (and please wear a helmet). Carpool and take the train or tram.
It all starts with you. Become the force of change that Mother Earth and our brethren and sistren, the animals, require in order for us all to coexist. Together, we are an unstoppable force for planetary goodness!
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.
Dr Reese Halter’s upcoming book is