Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its sixth assessment report on the state of climate science. The latest report from the UN-sponsored body spoke of humanity’s “unequivocal” contribution to climate change. Media headlines followed with phrases like “code red”, “catastrophe”, “frightening”, “hell”, paired with images of burning forests. Humans may be screwed, but here’s why I’m still optimistic about Earth’s future.

Hint: you are not guilty for existing. the earth is bigger than just humans. bad actors made bad choices before you were born and you can’t control that. You can only control your present choices!

Dig deeper → 3 min

highlighting why i'm optimistic about earth's future despite these negative headlines.

Reason #1: The Earth is 4.5 billion years old.

Weird way to start this. Why does that matter? We are destroying native plants and wildlife that took millions of years to manifest in a matter of decades. Ok, let’s take a step back. That breaks my heart, but the earth has survived…

  • at least five major ice ages
  • five mass extinctions

Of all species that have existed on Earth, 99.9 percent are now extinct.

My point? If we are in a climate emergency, we’re par for the course. We had a good 11,000 year run.

A cartoon drawing of geologic time as a butte, with the right hand side divided up by eons and periods, and the left-hand side showing fossils from those periods.
Artwork © Ray Troll, 2010.

Still convinced your shopping habits are saving the world? Check out this hilarious video on ‘saving the planet’ from George Carlin:

Reason #2: The Ozone layer recovered

Eumestat

There are countless headlines from the 1970s saying we’re all going to die because the Ozone layer is depleting. Maybe the predictions were accurate under the circumstances, but we won that fight.

The Ozone layer is no longer a headline you see often, because CFC damage was reversed.

Reason #3: Electric vehicles are getting better

Ars Technica

Electric vehicles are far from perfect, but they are getting better.

Public transportation only accounts for 5% of travel for US commuters, making electric vehicle use a critical component of energy efficiency in the US.

We are headed in the right direction: every major automaker is allocating billions of dollars toward R&D of better EVs.

Reason #4: Agriculture is getting better

Vertical farming is a highly efficient use of space for growing crops. It becomes especially helpful in urban cities with limited area.

Regenerative agriculture is a hot-topic that can help feed the world in the future by creating closed nutrient loops.

Reason #5: Energy is more efficient

As technology advances, wind & solar farms are becoming more efficient, with more robust ways to store energy.

Reason #6: Energy Costs are Lower

Wind & solar is cheaper than oil & gas, cost is no longer a strong factor. It is now more about feasibility.

Reason #7: Younger generations prefer natural

Interest in climate issues are at all time high, according to this 2020 Yale survey.

The vast majority of Gen Z shoppers prefer to buy from sustainable brands, and they are the most likely group to pay 10 percent more for sustainable products, according to this study.

Young people of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Reason #8: Institutional interest is at an all-time high

Despite The Guardian’s claim that humanity is “guilty as hell” regarding climate issues, a 2017 report concluded that 100 corporations account for 70% of all carbon emissions.

To me, that sounds like 100 companies are guilty, not humanity.

Still, President Biden felt compelled to tweet that “we can’t wait to tackle the climate crisis. I can’t wait? What am I supposed to do, make better consumer choices? I’m already doing that. Should I vote? Aren’t you the president?

But corporations have demonstrated unprecedented interest in driving down carbon emissions, improving energy efficiency, and seeking sustainable alternatives to existing practices, whatever the motive.

Reason #9: Why not be optimistic about Earth’s future?

A life of blind optimism is not the best way to live. But neither is unrelenting pessimism. If we’re all going to burn alive anyway, is that the life you want to live? If you think we can turn this thing around, why not be optimistic about it. And as we discovered, there is reason to be hopeful.

Cities only cover 3% of the Earth’s land surface! So much of the Earth remains relatively untouched by the urban sprawl. The age of industrial ignorance is over. There is a renewed passion for preserving the natural. Many of these landscapes will remain untouched in my lifetime. That makes me optimistic about Earth’s future.

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If humanity is guilty for climate change, we are guilty for all corporate scandals.

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