All over Europe, it has already begun. What was known as Climate Change, the unrelenting heating of our earth and all following consequences, is now being called Climate Crisis.
Major publications, and even governments, are now responding. The Guardian Newspaper in the UK has updated their style guide to use the term “crisis” or sometimes, “climate emergency” rather than the more passive “Climate Change.”
Activists in Britain have also persuaded leaders and representatives of many parties to do the same. Extinction Rebellion, using civil disobedience, successfully lobbied to make the point that half measures are not enough to combat the wildlife and climate emergency issues we now face on a global stage.
Gloom and doom are only certain if we hide our heads in the tar sands.
Climate Crisis is more reflective of the number of people dying, the looming economic impacts, the anxiety and fear that comes with swarms of tornadoes, wildfires in the west, floods in low-lying, heavily populated urban centers, and the ever-rising alarm about species disappearing in every kind of habitat.
In the USA, Russian investigation politics has continued to distract, even as swarms of tornadoes wipe out communities, and science deniers continue to hide their polluting-for -profit agendas. Even 2020 candidates are slow to come forward to demand a green new jobs bill, and an intensive overhaul to infrastructure that could save energy, jobs, livelihoods, and whole towns.
The general public agreed that clean energy is preferable to dirty energy years ago, yet the powers that be are not getting the critical memo we need. More people in the streets are inevitable, as more homes burn, flood, or are scooped up by massive weather disasters.
Climate Crisis is louder than Climate Change, and we appear to be just complacent enough that louder is necessary right now. Climate Change sounds almost benign. It reflects, perhaps the inaction and non-competency of world governments, but it does not reflect the reality we need to address.
In October of 2018, the IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released notice that we have just twelve years to significantly address emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic temperature rise of two degrees. In May, officials updated dire reports upon the loss of biodiversity and wildlife. Die offs of coral and loss of pollinating insects gravely impact all life dependent upon these very foundations of a food web, and agriculture.
World governments have tried to implement change, but without huge outcry and demand from people everywhere, they have not managed to shut down, or even seriously curtail, the use of fossil fuels and profligate habits that drive disaster.
This is not the fault of the consumer, made dependent upon fossil fuel, but now it is the responsibility of the consumer to demand system change. The suppliers, often older and insulated, do not share a vested interest in defending a habitable world beyond 2050.
As is often noted, only outside demand for justice results in achieving it. Slave owners, or tobacco industries, for example, do not share the need for fairness, any more than drug dealers — legal or otherwise — would curtail the flow of their profits. It is up to victims, mostly the poor and people of color, to rise up for human, and now, planetary, rights.
It is also good for our species — the dependent upon biosphere humans — to find such innovation, drive, and empowerment.
Being in crisis does not mean we have to be all panic and no impact. Think of human life in terms of the serious crisis we all have at times. We lose jobs. We lose loved ones to illness, and eventually death. We learn our debt has crippled us. We experience immense injustice due to crime, or sometimes neglect.
When we go through life crisis, we cope.
It is time to begin to cope with the reality of Climate Crisis honestly, and with all eyes open.
Changing our terminology will hopefully change our attitudes.
Like all life crisis that is a part of human existence, our deteriorating climate stability requires us to cope. We need to kick our politicians into gear, and to kick our own butts into action.
Unlike most other routine human crisis, however, this one requires every able bodied person to do their part to demand change, conserve, and re-imagine a healthier world.