As I am writing this (January 2020), bushfires are turning vast tracts of unique Australian bush into ash, punctuating the country’s hottest and driest year on record with disaster. Scientists fear that these fires, super-charged by extreme weather conditions, have resulted in irreversible damage to ecosystems.
Last year I spent time with my parents in the Netherlands, a country known for its rain and mild summer temperatures. Not so last summer, the temperature hit 39C. Trains stopped working, roads became liquid and people didn’t know where to go for shelter because their houses did not have air-conditioning and there were no big indoor shopping centres to hide in.
The changing climate compounds the major social challenges of our time, from food and water security to the global refugee crisis. And our social media feeds remind us daily of other problems in need of attention: educational inequality, homelessness, domestic violence, over-fishing of the oceans, over-farming of the land, etc.
I am sure I am not alone in wondering what kind of future we are heading for. Is it likely to be better, worse or just different?
What I do know is that we need to be better informed, willing to change, and work together to implement sustainable solutions and roll them out globally, at scale and at speed.