North Texas Daily

Climate change ignorance is a privilege most countries can’t afford

Climate change ignorance is a privilege most countries can’t afford

Climate change ignorance is a privilege most countries can’t afford
October 08
12:00 2022

The earth is warming, and the ozone bubble meant to protect is quickly becoming a cage for harmful gasses like carbon dioxide and methane, encasing the world in a global greenhouse effect. 

While climate change is technically still a theory,, the evidence is becoming all too real as it unfolds around the globe. The leading cause of global warming and the increase in temperatures worldwide is human emissions from fossil fuels.

There are many who fall back on the idea that climate change is baseless and without proof. Yet the proof is in Pakistan, where the worst flooding in 30 years has submerged one-third of the country in water, displacing approximately 33 million people, including 16 million children. In an estimation given by U.N. relief agencies, the flood waters in Pakistan will take up to six months to recede.

As industries continue to push emissions into the atmosphere, storms will only continue to get worse and affect more and more countries. The six countries most likely to see the adverse effects of climate change sooner rather than later include Nigeria, Haiti, Yemen and Kiribati, according to Time magazine.

Most of the countries being affected, or next on the list, are not economically dominating countries with booming industries able to properly care for their people if a crisis occurs. Most are developing countries that are neither responsible for climate change nor able to combat its effects.

Currently, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Myanmar are considered the most affected countries by climate risk in 2020, according to an article from Iberdrola. All three countries have lost thousands of lives, millions in structural damage and have struggled to recover.

The bottom line: most developed countries are unbothered by climate change because the effects that are becoming increasingly immediate have not drastically affected them. Unfortunately, this ignorance is making the problem worse. Countries that haven’t experienced adverse effects are more likely to not do anything, making the outcomes experienced by other countries insurmountably worse.

Living in a country seemingly untouched by climate change is a privilege. Recognizing this privilege is the first step toward embracing the responsibility to express outrage and demand change to decrease the emission rate. The goal years set to reverse climate change have come and gone, and 2022 could mark a turning point for countries across the globe to create policies for effective change.

In 2019, most Americans believed that the federal government was not doing enough to protect against climate change, according to the Pew Research Center. The lack of action by the government is especially pertinent considering the United States has the most significant cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide as of 2021.

Climate change is a global problem, not just for those immediately affected. It is seen in Pakistan, India and Puerto Rico. The human race is drowning itself in mistakes that experts warned us about for years.

While the damage caused is nearing irreparable, there is still time to slow it down, and it is up to the citizens of the perpetrating countries to demand that action be taken soon. The power of the people and the majority’s voice is the most impactful way to call for change. Organizing with local and national groups advocating for better climate policies is crucial in creating change.

Even as America feels immediate consequences from its lack of action in policy change through natural disasters and record high temperatures, its inaction will continue to be part of the problem when a solution is attainable. Pakistan’s flooding is the outcome of a placated America, an unacceptable blindness to the world’s problems. Americans and other privileged countries owe it to those with less sway over the reversal to create that change. 

It is not the responsibility of the victims to reverse a problem they did not cause. The crises in these affected countries should serve as a wake-up call to a long ignored alarm.

Featured Illustration by Jazmine Garcia

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Gianna Ortner-Findlay

Gianna Ortner-Findlay

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