The climate is changing. Will we?

“Antarctica hits record temperature of 18.3 degrees Celsius, UN confirms”.

When I saw this headline a few days ago, I literally fell from my seat. 18 degrees is the temperature in Ooty. That simply cannot be the temperature in Antarctica! There must be some error in this news.

I did some searching and figured that the news is indeed true, but (yes, there’s always a but!) that temperature was recorded on February 6, 2020, and is being confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), now.

Still. 18 degrees centigrade. In Antarctica. If that does not scare you, I don’t know what will.

In the most recent past, I seem to be noticing a LOT of dire climatic news. Here’s a snapshot.

This is just a very small snapshot. I have come across a whole lot more that is a lot scarier.

Consider the McKinsey report from November 2020 that is literally titled, “Climate risk and response: Physical hazards and socioeconomic impacts – Will India get too hot to work?“.

The report says, “We find that India could become one of the first places in the world to experience heat waves that cross the survivability limit for a healthy human being sitting in the shade.”

That is scarily almost the plot of the entire first chapter of science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson’s latest novel, The Ministry for the Future, released in October 2020.

The first chapter happens in India – in Uttar Pradesh, to be specific. You could read the entire first chapter with all its gory horror, for free, here.

However, the heatwaves are causing death in the developed nations, like Canada… not yet in India!

What is likely to happen in India, beyond the novel’s fiction? Here is a fictional narrative of heatwaves in Hyderabad vs. Chennai in 2041, as imagined by the Economist! Makes for really interesting reading:

Bottomline: the situation is incredibly scary.

But, our species perhaps needs immediate and imminent destruction and death on a massive scale to jolt us into collective action. That kind of action may occur in the near future, of course, but right now, we are perhaps seeing an accelerated incidence of increased global warming that has been happening at a glacial speed all this while. That explains the back-to-back news on the destruction being caused by the excess heat around the globe.

No, I have no clue what we, as individuals, can do about all this. Should we use less plastic, and fewer air conditioners? Should we use less our vehicles less so we burn less fuel? I have no idea if all those could help what is a global phenomenon. How many people need to do all this and for how long? I don’t know. All I can think is that I’m feeling helpless about this accelerated pace in global climate change – my generation will probably live a few more decades and move on, but it is our kids who will face the more dangerous brunt of the dramatic climate change.

I have a feeling that we are more likely to adapt our current life, the way it is, around the changes in the weather instead of trying to do something to reduce the pace of the deterioration.

For instance, Qatar has recently introduced a new law to protect workers from the summer heat! As per the new rules, workers will be prohibited to work outside between 10 am and 3:30 pm from June 1 and until September 15 every year.

The mild changes in our current lifestyle were in full force during the pandemic (and continues). When we couldn’t indulge in what we used to outside our homes, we simply ordered most of those experiences in our homes and continued them! Masks became a necessary appendage after being relegated to only specific and limited usage for many years.

Honestly, I don’t even know what to think on this topic anymore – just wanted to get this out of my system.

But, considering I write about communications and advertising, I did come across a short film (very short, at one and a half minutes only) that beautifully uses fear as a creative device to induce us to think about climate change. It instills a visceral fear because the plot involves the dangers of climate change affecting a child. Imagine – like the child in the film, our children may become conditioned to ‘sit through’ the dangers posed by the debilitating changes in the climate. The mother is aware of a better period in time, but the child doesn’t know anything different – for the child, what’s happening outside is something that happens frequently and an adult would assist them with something to tide over that atmospheric peril!

The film is directed by Paul Santana, from the production company Supply & Demand.

The voice-over narrates a poem by Elizabeth Honey, titled, “All the Wild Wonders”.

For you my sweet babe/ I wish fish in the sea
Birds in the trees/ Tigers in jungles
And all the wild wonders/ All the wild wonders
For you my sweet babe.

For you my sweet babe/ I wish wind for the albatross
Clear flowing rivers/ Forests of giants
And all the wild wonders/ All the wild wonders
For you my sweet babe.

For this wish to come true/ We have much work to do
All the wild wonders/ All the wild wonders
For you my sweet babe.

The film ends with an incredibly impactful question:
“The climate is changing. Will we?”. (the title of this post)

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