A photo of the first ever Earth Day in 1970. Would you look at those clothes?
In the last year, the world has reached a global climate agreement, renewable energy like solar and wind is now cheaper than fossil fuel-based electricity in many parts of the world. Meanwhile, Hurricane Harvey and Irma made landfall last year, causing a staggering $306 billion worth of damage, and making 2017 the most expensive year on record for disasters.
So, while we are constantly making strides towards reducing climate change, we are not moving fast enough.
69% of Americans support stricter CO2 limits on existing coal-fired power plants, and 75% support regulating CO2 as a pollutant in general. Yet, while the majority of people are in agreement that big changes need to be made, one of the major hurdles is whether or not we are willing to implement these changes in our daily lives. For example, I fly more than a 100 times a year, in many ways this makes me a mass polluter — something I feel bad about every time I enter a plane. Yet by offsetting my flights, reducing my consumption of meats, and driving electric when commutes are needed, I do find ways to reduce my carbon footprint.
And therein lies the point — it’s time we all took a look in the mirror and recognized that, while there is certainly a need for large scale systemic changes, the biggest change we need to make is the way we live our individual lives. And that is difficult.
As suggested by NY Times, global warming is the kind of threat humans are notoriously awful at dealing with. We know in our minds that climate change is a serious problem with far-flung repercussions, but the transition is so gradual that it can be hard to see how our actions have any real impact. That said, I’m optimistic about our ability to make climate change our personal responsibility.
Fortunately, even though the U.S. Federal Government has said they would pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, a coalition of entities led by the State of California has pledged to uphold it — and even take it a step further if needed. Moreover, California and Washington State have joined Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Chile to create a central economic policy to slow climate change along the Pacific Coast. As the transport sector is still the biggest polluter — accounting for over 25% of all CO2 emitted annually — Governor Brown of California has also signed an order to put up to 5 million EVs on the road by 2030. For the skeptics out there, take a look at the findings from best-selling author Tony Seba and Colin McKerracher or Bloomberg New Energy Finance to see how this can be easily achieved.
As I have been pushing zero-emission transportation for the last eight years, it feels like I’ve become somewhat of a veteran in electric vehicle charging movement. That said, I’ve recently started to wonder “how much do I actually know about our climate? Where will we be seeing the impacts of climate change the most? And if the world does warm up more than that agreed limit of 2 degrees Celsius, what’s awaiting us?” I have so many questions left unanswered, which is why I’ve decided to join the 2Degrees Climate Expedition in Spitsbergen, North Pole – a place that experienced a temperature rise of 20 degrees Celsius last month.
While there, joined by multiple climate scientist, I’ll be searching for answers that books can’t give me. I’m incredibly lucky to be able to go on this trip, and I’m grateful to EVBox for giving me the opportunity to find real, tangible answers.
To see everything that I learn during my time in the arctic, tune in on the EVBox Instagram and Twitter. From there, I’ll be reporting live from the North Pole next week! Also, stay tuned for an extensive report on my findings after my return.