It may seem like 2022 was such a slog it felt more like three years instead of one — something about the pandemic has warped time perception — but even so, on geological timescales, it was a blip. Still, the industrial policies of human civilization have long-lasting impacts, especially when it comes to our influence on the environment. Our planet’s average temperature has fluctuated many times throughout its 4.5 billion year history, but things are heating up, fast, and humans are to blame.

We no longer have to worry about some drastic shift in temperature in a distant future. The climate has already changed. The disaster is here. The only question remaining is if we can act quickly enough to lessen the damage from getting worse.

This is not good. It’s surprising this still needs to be said in 2022, but despite the adamancy of scientists — in which agreement is 100 percent that global heating is throwing the planet out of balance — the general public still has not fully grasped the severity of the situation. Otherwise, there might be the kind of collective disruption necessary to stall this trend, which overwhelming evidence points to human activity as the underlying cause.

Many experts think humans still have a chance. But we must act, and soon. After all, it’s mostly our own existence that’s at threat, not the planet’s. The planet will be fine. If we want humanity to continue thriving, then we need to stop burning fossil fuels, restore the environment and shift to sustainable ways of living.


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