In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Dear Leader.”
Dear John Key, Tim Grosser and New Zealand,
I write this letter because I am scared. I write this letter because I have only just begun to understand what I should have known for a while. I write this because I am only 22 years old and want to look forward to a positive and better 58 years ahead. This letter is not to throw up scientific facts at your feet. No, you already have access to all of that. 97% of scientists agree that climate warming trends are extremely likely to be caused by us.
It is happening and we’re seeing the effects. I fear for future generations and the struggle that we are building up for them. I fear for our children and grandchildren because of the difficulties they will have to face just to breathe and drink water. We are too comfortable. We need to change. I urge you to ensure that NZ sticks to their emission budgets. I urge you to think about the long-term effects of your decisions today.
Someone who is already affected by climate change.
Ok. Now for my story.
I hated summers. I hated summers because growing up, I had to watch other kids play outside. I hated summers because I couldn’t have a normal childhood. I hated summers because of what happened to me.
I am photosensitive, which means I am sensitive to sunlight. In a really simplified way – I’m allergic to the sun. This involved going to dermatologists, getting biopsies done and well it was and still is unpleasant. It’s quite likely that if I was to die, it’ll be because I’ll probably get melanoma from all this exposure. Not ideal really because it’s not the dramatic exit I envision for myself. Every summer, my face, arms, legs, neck and ears break out into a painful rash because of where I live. I never had this growing up in the UAE, until I moved to NZ when I was 10. We have all heard about CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and the effects it had on the ozone layer. This is what NIWA has to say about it (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) has to say about it.
“Until the 1980s, chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, and other man-made halogen compounds were used in refrigeration, aerosol sprays and numerous other applications throughout the world. UV radiation breaks down these chemicals once they are in the stratosphere, releasing chlorine and bromine atoms, which then deplete ozone.”
Then the world got its butt into action and did something about it.
Enter the Montreal Protocol.
“With the introduction of the Montreal Protocol in 1987 there was agreement to phase out the usage of these chemicals. This agreement also provides for ongoing research into, and observations of, ozone and related compounds.”
Which was awesome, because things got done. All good, except I’m now paying the price because of what generations before me did. My biggest issue is that I do not want my actions now to have a detrimental effect on my children and so on. Actually, we can see the effects of climate change already, we don’t need to be waiting 50 – 100 years.
Check out what NASA is saying about our current state. Carbon Dioxide levels have reached 400 parts per million. Sea levels are rising by 3.19 mm per year. We have lost 1.5 million sq. km of our forest cover already.
This is a global issue. The heat wave in India has a death toll that has exceeded 2000 people. The Philippines are battered by typhoons and development has already had a direct impact. The Maldives are ringing alarm bells as they need to quickly find ways to adapt to higher sea levels. Check out what’s happening in Antarctica. The threat of climate change is real and it is here. They are experiencing the effects now.
I’ve done enough damage already. It’s time you and I thought about the possible consequences. 97% of scientists agree about climate warming, what more proof do we need?
What if I told you that 97% of scientists agree that the travelling by planes was unsafe.
Don’t worry, flying is still the safest way to travel. Well to my current knowledge anyway.
Apologies, I deviated. Back to climate change. Unfortunately, switching light bulbs is not all that we can do. What can we do?
- Calculate your carbon footprint here.
- Talk to your Government.
- Think about divestment and where your KiwiSaver/401K/superannuation money is being invested.
I’m still learning but there are a few clued up guys that have made it a lot easier for your voice to be heard. Check out Generation Zero (NZ only) and 350.org for more information. For those of you that want to know what these scientists are saying and what the current statistics and studies are, check out the IPCC reports.
What do you think? Comment and let me know.
Till next time.