In July 2019 a group of college students in Cologne, Germany displayed a protest that shook viewers to the core with its simplicity and deafening silence that screamed levels. Hoping to draw attention to the injustice of climate change, three students stood on ice blocks and hung a noose around their necks, symbolising that when the ice melts and runs out, the students will be dead. This exhibition was coined ‘Eis am Strick’/’Ice on the Rope’.
What is climate change that has evoked such an explicit protest?
Climate change is a reality. It is the horrendous reality of the world’s rising and changing temperature in the long term. Climate is the term used to describe the general weather of an area and in that sense, the world’s climate is a large weather system. However, since the 1860s, dramatic and unnatural changes have been occurring due to human activity in the world’s climate.
Humans are experiencing storms, heat waves, rainfall, volcanic eruptions, floods, earthquakes, bush fires and other natural phenomena at an alarming rate.
What causes climate change?
Our atmosphere comprises several different gases, majorly Oxygen (O), Nitrogen (N) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2), all collectively known as “greenhouse gases”. These greenhouse gases have a direct impact on our weather conditions, but the last 22 years have seen an abnormal and dramatic change in the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere due to humans. This fact implies the current rise of CO2 and temperature is happening at a rate a million times faster than previous global changes, a rapid change that human evolution cannot cope with and keep up.
Production of fossil fuels, factories, industries, driving cars, home-heating, cooking, and public transport are some examples of how we emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, disturbing nature’s balance.
Impact of Climate Change
Aside from the fluctuating and concerning weather conditions caused by climate change, some other negative impacts that climate change has on our health, economy and wellbeing are:
- Increase in air pollution and low-quality air, resulting in higher rates of respiratory and lung disease
- Decreased water quality
- Increased prices of gas, petroleum and other fossil fuels.
- Longer, more intense droughts will impact the agricultural sector, its produce and quality, having a direct impact on a nation’s economy.
- Rising sea levels result in flooding which threatens our homes, habitats and infrastructures.
Here are some facts that might scare you into action:
- More than 1 million species are at the risk of extinction due to climate change.
- The last 7 years have been the warmest years on record, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
- Average wildlife populations have dropped by 60% in just over 40 years.
- Human endeavour and carelessness have caused a rise of 1.7 C already in the Earth’s temperature and a rise of 1.5 C is expected in the next decade.
- There is more Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere today than ever recorded in history (in almost 2 million years!)
- We are losing 1.2 trillion tons of ice each year, causing sea levels to rise rapidly.
- Climate scientists are underpaid or not paid at all for their work, thus we lack research in this domain.
This world is in dire need of immediate action from the authorities to educate the public, and strict policies and laws in place to fight climate change before the world slips from under our feet and we are hanged by the noose of our ignorance.