By Alan Miles
During a speech before the United Nations in 1987, President Ronald Reagan suggested the world would stand together as one if aliens invaded Earth:
“Perhaps we need some outside universal threat to make us recognize our common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.“
I suggest that on Earth Day, the governments of the world announce they’ve discovered that climate change is the work of extraterrestrial beings intent on destroying earth, rather than something we’re foolishly doing to ourselves. Perhaps that will unite us in worldwide action. It’s not too late, but we need to get going.
A coordinated response
Heading into Earth Day, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued its third report laying out the changes the world needs to undertake to mitigate climate change. The report stresses a swift and coordinated effort by world leaders: “Above all, governments must strengthen and expand bold policy incentives to reduce emissions at home and together construct a new climate change agreement . . .” said a UN statement on the report.
A collective effort at sustainability — including a lower carbon footprint for each of us individually — is ultimately the basis of stopping climate change. Every action, large or small, that lowers energy use is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But the report makes clear that without worldwide governmental action as well — national to local — the world will likely suffer major catastrophe.
What we can do
In addition to making own lives more sustainable, we need to write our congressmen and senators at both the national and state levels, attend county supervisor and city council meetings, write editorials for our local newspapers, and speak out in general to spread the word about this crisis that threatens our planet and ensure that the decisions our society is making take it into account.
In short, we need to replace our current view of climate change as a distant danger with one that treats it as a dramatic crisis that threatens our very existence.
If the effects of climate change — the depletion of our food and water supplies, destruction of coastal cities, droughts — were being perpetrated by aliens, surely we would all come together quickly to ensure our mutual survival.
Just like in the movies.
About the Author: Alan explores ideas and issues related to a sustainable lifestyle — from cooking and culture to social and environmental responsibility. He enjoys Shakespeare, but not as much as college basketball (Go Hawks!). Alan is a family man, liking nothing better than spending time with his wife of 34 years, his four kids and four grandkids.