It’s easy to switch off when you hear another report of rising sea levels. But unless individuals act, we’re heading for a global catastrophe
It’s the existential threat to our species, and it bores us to tears. Admit it. You think the consequences of human-driven climate change are terrifying, but it seems too abstract, too technical and too long term. A recent poll in the US found that, while most Americans accepted that the climate was indeed changing, less than a quarter admitted to be either extremely or very worried about it.
So the latest scientific reports should have the effect of grabbing us by the lapels and admonishing us for not taking it seriously enough. A whopping big glacier in Greenland is disintegrating, and fast. Incredibly, 4.5bn tonnes of ice is being lost from this glacier every single year. If it were to disappear, it alone could raise the Earth’s sea levels by half a metre.
Still, my fear is we will occasionally glance at these stories, grimace a bit, and then move on to the latest snaps of Kate Middleton. Perhaps a more effective tool is a website that looks at how major cities will look after rising temperatures have done their thing. Spoiler: who fancies a swim outside the New York Stock Exchange?