These words were shared by Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on Sunday. He said:
Climate change is shaping the future of our civilization. If action is not taken it will take the planet into an unprecedented climate future if we compare it to what has happened during all of human evolutionary history. So the scale of the changes that we are experiencing in the climate system is unprecedented. The scale of the changes that humans would have to implement in order to keep climate change under control is unprecedented.
In 2016, the IPCC was asked to prepare a report on what our world will look like if we reach global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and what we need to do to stop this from happening. This report, released on Sunday, brings together 6,000 studies from numerous scientists (physical and social) from around the world. To say it’s a very big deal is an understatement.
Image credit: IPCC
As I watched the release of the IPCC report (available through live video on their Facebook page), I felt shock, fear, sadness, panic, anger – a whole range of negative emotions, really. Even though climate change has been on my mind for a very long time and I worked for an environmental organization for more than a decade, I sometimes find myself temporarily immobilized by the vastness of it, particularly when big news like the IPCC’s report is issued. At the same time though I never stop asking myself what I’m going to do about it and I won’t stop asking myself this question. I know that contributing to proposed solutions will do no harm, but the research shows unequivocally that taking no action at all – remaining on the course that we’re on – definitely will.
Here are some resources to get started with if you find yourself overwhelmed by this recent news or the subject generally, or if you just need some suggestions for what to do next. This list is by no means comprehensive, so if you have suggestions for good resources, please do share them in the comment section below.
Books and films in our catalogue:
To find climate change resources in our catalogue, search for the term climatic changes. We have a number of items in our catalogue on this subject. Here are some more recent additions:
The Seasons Alter: How to Save our Planet in Six Acts by Philip Kitcher and Evelyn Fox Keller
Recognizing that climate change is one of the most controversial issues of our time, the authors break down the science, politics, and arguments surrounding it through everyday conversation in familiar circumstances: an older couple considering whether they should reduce their carbon footprint, a first date with passionate discussion about whether one person can really change anything, and more.
Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson served as the 7th president of Ireland. In this book she shares her experiences meeting with individuals throughout the world at the grassroots level who are fighting for climate justice. “Mary Robinson’s mission would lead her all over the world, from Malawi to Mongolia, and to a heartening revelation: that an irrepressible driving force in the battle for climate justice could be found at the grassroots level, mainly among women, many of them mothers and grandmothers like herself.”
The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to build a Fossil-free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and still get a Good Night’s Sleep by Mary deMocker
If you’re a parent or guardian this book provides 100 ideas to help you live an environmentally conscious life, promote awareness of climate change, and include the young people in your life every step of the way.
Are We Screwed? How a New Generation is Fighting to Survive Climate Change by Geoff Dembicki
“A declaration of resistance, and a roadmap for radical change, from the generation that will be most screwed by climate change.”
The author, a 31-year old journalist, travelled to Silicon Valley, Washington, DC, the Tar Sands, and Paris to find out about the climate change issue and the Millennials who are battling the odds to try to solve this issue.
An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming and An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power by Al Gore
Through these two books and films, numerous speaking engagements, and the Climate Reality Project, Al Gore has been raising awareness about climate change for more than two decades. Both of these resources introduce the issue and the challenges involved in addressing it, and call on all individuals to get involved in building our sustainable future.
Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution by Peter Kalmus
“”How a climate scientist and suburban father cut his climate impact down to one tenth the US average and became happier because of it. Being the Change merges science, spirituality, and practical knowledge to offer a deeply optimistic message: living without fossil fuels is not only possible, it can be better.”
There is a lot of information online about climate change and the sheer amount of it can be overwhelming. The key is to find information that is credible and backed by science. Here are some sites to start with that are closer to our Winnipeg home:
The Manitoba Eco-Network, a non-profit organization in Winnipeg, has a project called the Climate Change Connection. It’s a great online resource. Check it out.
The Prairie Climate Centre has created The Climate Atlas of Canada, a tool that “combines climate science, mapping and storytelling to bring the global issue of climate change closer to home for Canadians. It is designed to inspire local, regional, and national action that will let us move from risk to resilience.”
David Suzuki has been raising awareness about climate change for decades and a lot of climate change information is available on the David Suzuki Foundation website. This article from July 2018 outlines 10 steps that individuals can take to start making a difference.
To get up to speed with what’s happening in our city, check out the City of Winnipeg’s Sustainability page. Our city is part of a network of municipalities participating in a program called Partners for Climate Protection. In May 2018, the City released Winnipeg’s Climate Action Plan. To do the same regarding our province, get started with The Government of Manitoba’s Climate and Green Plan.
The IPCC report presented humanity with a crucial, time-sensitive challenge. Let’s take action in small and big ways. Let’s get and remain informed. Let’s share what we find out with others. Let’s remain hopeful. And please connect with us if you need help with finding any information along the way.