On May 1, The UK parliament declared a “climate emergency.” Not even a month later, New York City declared one, too. And now the City Council of Los Angeles is going further to initiate its declaration. As the urgency to protect our environment rises in activists and few politicians, what does this “climate emergency” really mean for us?
In reality, a declaration of a “climate emergency” may mean nothing more than a sort of political move. Unless strong actions are taken by the federal government and urgent agreements are made on a global scale, it’s impossible to make solid changes. Certain cities and countries may declare a climate emergency. However, without a collective effort from people around the world, a city alone cannot stop climate change.
Ms. Solarez, the AP Environmental Science teacher at West Ranch, expresses that, “We have excess greenhouse gases that people are emitting into the atmosphere for a variety of reasons, mostly from fossil fuels but also air conditioning, the number one greenhouse gas that we’re releasing.”
Other concerns include eating meat, which releases more methane in the environment. These are the few sources among many which cause a collective detrimental impact on climate change.
The reason for many politicians and environmental activists to advocate for climate change solutions is due to the economic expense that is yet to come in the future.
“The emergency is that there’s not going to be a tipping point. I don’t know if we are going to have a point like that,” says Ms.Solarez. “People are becoming more vocal about it because we have seen increase warming, we have seen record heat waves every year for the last ten years, we have seen coastal erosions. As the ice caps are melting, the sea levels rise, and those are things we’re seeing happening now that are costly. So it’s become a shift to solving these problems to minimize cost because if the highway goes underwater people are gonna want it rebuilt, so what’s the cost of that gonna be? Our beaches, our state parks are going underwater, so what’s the cost of that gonna be versus moving away so we don’t have these problems? People are starting to use stronger language because now there’s money involved.”
If infrastructures are destroyed, farming will be slowed down and sea animals will die en masse from climate change. It will not only hurt the environment, but it will also deeply hurt the economy.
Rebuilding any damage will cost humans a great sum of capital and only divide the people. While the rich will be able to move to undamaged areas, the poor are going to be stuck. Politicians are not only going to have to constantly support people in terms of food, but also housing. Climate change will become, once again, another factor to divide social classes. There’s already a great gap between social classes in our world, and further damage to our livelihoods will only make this gap wider.
Grace Parker, a freshman at West Ranch High School shares that climate change makes her feel ”like we need to step up and make changes in our lifestyle to help the earth.”
Humans live in a society where there’s enough economic inequality in terms of food, education and shelter. At the end of the day, this “climate emergency” is a warning that, without a collective effort from all people around the world, the so-called “apocalypse” may become a huge economic and social mobility downfall.