The events of the last few days have been a salutary reminder that we are guests on this planet, and that Nature bats last. The massive earthquake in North Canterbury/Marlborough and its swarm of aftershocks – which, here in Wellington, we continue to feel – has caused equally massive damage.
But Nature’s innings is well underway when it comes to climate change, as well. 2016 will be the hottest year on record – just as 2015 was, and 2014 before it. 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have happened this century.
When it comes to earthquakes, we can prepare personally, seek to improve resilience, and respond afterwards as best we can. But when it comes to climate change, we still have a chance – maybe a slim chance, but a chance – to change the game for the better, as long as we act this decade.
Tragically, the election of Donald J. Trump has put the possibility of meaningful action at further risk – and while Trump is rowing back on some of his wildest election promises, he is still dead keen on sabotaging the Paris climate agreement. If Trump succeeds, and his agenda dominates climate policy for the rest of the decade, we may well get to the point where it’s too late to do anything about climate change other than respond to what Nature throws at us – and there will come a point when we are no longer capable of doing that.
So it’s up to us. Are we going to sit by while Trump, his cronies, and his agenda puts the planet’s future at even greater risk, or are we going to act – wherever we are, however we can – to preserve a liveable future?