The failure of our generation is not that we don’t know how to tackle climate change, but rather that we have failed to acknowledge its reality for too long. Every day of delay makes it more difficult to catch up, which is a missed opportunity for creating new businesses and changing lives. Decision and policy makers talk about their intentions and visions, but without any real action, it will soon be too late.
Just 50 years ago, people had energy meters in their homes and understood the cost and effect of energy on their lives. But now, we have become accustomed to everything being easy and supplied, forgetting the true cost of energy. As demand and want increase, we forget our roots. Unfortunately, the effects of climate change are not equally distributed and developing countries are most vulnerable to its consequences.
While capitalism and economy drive growth, the problem is that we cannot eat money. Denialism and ignoring the issue won’t make climate change go away. We need food, but land for growing it is running out due to deforestation, poor soil from over-farming, and increasing use of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers, which all contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and higher temperatures. These high temperatures lead to severe droughts, heat events, large storms, intense rainfall, disease, epidemics, and ultimately, war. This cost is carried financially by taxpayers, amounting to €31 billion per year in Europe alone.
By 2030, Ireland will be home to an additional 2 million people, and by 2050, the world population will reach an estimated 9 billion. This growth is happening without resilience or planning for limited resources and a 2-degree average surface warming. If we continue to grow as we are today, we will need seven planets the size of Earth. The most sobering fact is that while Earth will survive as a total system, we may not.