Ever since the United Nations released a report in October stating that we have 12 years to limit the worst effects of climate change, I keep thinking about the disastrous outcomes it outlines.
It becomes more and more likely that the level of destruction and smoke caused by wildfires like Camp Fire will become normal for California. It felt unreal to read about the unbreathable air quality in November, to hear about the shortage of respirator masks from friends and acquaintances. Kids couldn’t go to school, people couldn’t leave their homes safely, and those without homes were subject to even more danger. But conditions continue to become drier and hotter in regions like this.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve seen a push for individuals to reject their wasteful habits and be conscious of their environmental impact. San Jose implemented their reusable bag ordinance when I was in high school, and I carried the habit with me through moving states and graduating from college. That habit compounded into a handful of other actions I take in my daily life to lower my impact. I believe in the power of individual actions, like refusing single-use items and reducing meat consumption.
But to stop the current trajectory of climate change requires countless industries and our entire society to change. Climate change will not wait for us bring reusable bags to the grocery store, or for our government spend years dancing around the issue while failing to offer an actionable plan.
Ordinary people must demand change together.