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9.27.2019

NOW's Jessica Jones Talks Climate Action

T  he climate crisis cannot be ignored. Every Friday, Milk will be focusing on solutions and stories from the environment’s biggest supporters; through essays, photo stories, updates on the latest technologies, and tips to combat the climate crisis, we’ve got you covered. First up, an essay by Jessica Jones,  co-founder of NOW, the organization on a mission to mobilize humanity and reverse the climate crisis through cultural change, and by planting 1 trillion trees in order to reduce the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. 

The past week in NYC was a mash-up of all things Climate. From the Global Climate Strike/s to Climate Week (a series of events alongside the 74th session of the UN General Assembly) and the UN Climate Action Summit, to an array of side events from Extinction Rebellion, Sunrise Movement and many more. 

But what’s it all about? What is happening inside of the UN? And what effects do the Climate Strikes really have? Well, perhaps the better question we should be asking ourselves is: why the hype and why should we be tuning in?

If you haven’t been watching Greta, listening to scientists, or believing warnings from our global indigenous communities, our Earth is in trouble. Ecosystems that we depend on–those that give us oxygen, water, and food–are deteriorating. Humanity is facing the reality of what that means for our survival as a species living on this planet. 

Yes, things are bad. We need to wake up. We’re past just ‘warming’ our planet. ‘Negative feedback loops’ around the world have already begun. One of which is ice cover retreating in the arctic. With less ice, less of the sun’s energy is reflected back from the surface of the earth. As the permafrost melts, more carbon is lost into the atmosphere, accelerating Climate Change. 

For anyone catching up; Climate Change causes extreme weather, including droughts, hurricanes, floods and changing weather patterns will fundamentally alter what can be grown where and drive down global agricultural productivity.

So, are we all doomed then? 

Before we answer that, think about this: if a fire started on the stove in your kitchen, would you walk out and let the house burn down? Or would you grab the fire extinguisher sitting nearby and spray first before things got dangerous. 

Sure, it’s a pretty simple analogy. However, humanity has a choice at this pivotal moment in time, before things get dangerous. And since we’re a long way in, with negative feedback loops already having started, and ecological systems breaking down, we can’t move slowly. We are going to have to regenerate our natural world. That’s our fire extinguisher. We need to rebuild. And we need to do it fast. 

One of the most critical interventions we need to enact across the globe is forest restoration. Not only do forests absorb CO2 while trees grow (a recent study by the Crowther Lab shows we have enough land around the world to reforest,) they can provide food to communities and support biodiversity at the same time.  

“Forest restoration is by far our most powerful planetary solution today… it is available now, it is the cheapest one possible and every one of us can get involved.”

– Prof. Thomas Crowther, Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich 

There are many solutions to the climate crisis available today, it’s just a matter of acting on them. You can already get involved in Global Reforestation with NOW, you can limit C02 emissions as simply as switching to Renewable Energy and you can limit your beef & dairy consumption–since cattle farming is a huge contributor to deforestation and other greenhouse gases. Continue the conversation, spread the awareness.

The future has not been written. We can’t let the house burn down.

Images + video courtesy of NOW.

Stay tuned to Milk for more climate crisis solutions.

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