Article

When to Give Up on Climate?

The year 2023 ended with a glimmer of hope, marked by a global consensus to transition away from fossil fuels. Yet, paradoxically, it has been one of the most challenging years for the climate.
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In stark contradiction to this consensus, several oil-producing nations, amidst this climate crisis, have decided to ramp up oil extraction. If implemented, this decision could be akin to a suicidal act for our shared future. It seems as though the allure of short-term financial gains and egoistic motives is overshadowing the harsh realities of climate change.
The year 2023 has been record-breaking for all the wrong reasons. We have witnessed unprecedented rises in oceanic temperatures and land temperatures consistently exceeding the 1.5-degree Celsius threshold over several months. Additionally, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events have reached new highs.
Oil companies have made record profits and now have more resources than ever to continue manipulating our politicians and resisting change.
Furthermore, this year has seen new wars and an escalated level of violence in the world.
In these troubling times, how can we maintain hope and the energy needed to keep on fighting?
Climate scientist Kimberly Nicholas offers some solace in her recent writings. She contends that now is not the time to succumb to despair. It is during these times of upheaval that real change occurs. An excerpt from her book "Under the Sky We Make", brimming with urgency and optimism, urges us: "Keep pushing everyone." Her words serve as a rallying cry as we look forward to a hopeful 2024.
I don’t want to belittle the temptation to give up in the midst of this mess, because this work is really hard, and I struggle with this temptation myself. Humans have set in motion a planetary-scale warming experiment with impacts that will last for millennia. The headlines about the latest ice-sheet collapse or coral bleaching only hint at the scope of the destabilization we’re fighting against. There is so much we have to do, and so little time to do it. And I, just like you, am just one person.
Even though I spend most of my time working on climate, if I’m honest, most days I don’t have any sense that what I’m doing makes any difference in the world, to the climate, or to other people. What if it is too late for anyone to do anything to make any difference? What if it is already too late for 1.5°C or 2°C because of tipping points lurking just around the corner? Will all my efforts have been a total waste of time? Should I have started that garage winery instead?
On a particularly bad day recently, when the headlines were especially grim and I felt like nothing I’m doing is making any difference at all, I came across a piece on climate activism by Jim Shultz.
(I think I googled something like “climate change when to give up?” Please don’t judge.)
Shultz writes that there are no ways to know what impact we actually have, and no guarantees that what we do will make a difference:
“So we guess, and there are two different ways we can guess wrong. The first is to overestimate our power to change what’s coming and to give people . . . ‘false hope.’ . . . The second is to underestimate what is possible, to believe that we are less powerful than we actually are and to do less than we can. That’s the wrong guess that worries me more. Faced with a choice between disappointment or failing to do all that is possible, I don’t find the decision a hard one to make.”
Hang in there, friends.
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One easy thing we all can do for the new year is to measure our own emissions and work to reduce them. Our partner, ClimateHero, has developed a tool that has inspired over 1 million people to aim for reducing their emissions by 2.1 million tons of CO2 per year!


Remember, the most significant impact comes from encouraging your friends, colleagues, and family to join in this effort. Let's make 2024 the year where we all compete to drastically reduce our emissions and phase out fossil fuels We also need to keep our voices loud and clear. Individual change is a positive step forward, but what we really need now is a unified and systematic approach. Let's commit to both!
Together, we can make a difference, and when we do, we create the renewable energy we need to keep moving forward.
Let's create hope together!
When we do that, we realize that the time to give up on climate is never! We are going to win this!
We wish a better New Year to everyone in the We Don't Have Time community.
Hang in there, friends!
  • Chris Ndungu

    8 w

    Lets work extra hard to bring new change in 2024! We need to tutor more people on the importance of the environment.

    • Kevin

      14 w

      A unified and systemic approach is the goal for the year 2024. I want to lead my family and friends in the journey on less emissions and protection of our surroundings.

      7
      • Munene Mugambi

        14 w

        @Kevin imagine if we all shared this unified approach to our friends and families? We'd make huge differences in our world

      • Tabitha Kimani

        15 w

        Atleast much was done to improve sustainability

        2
        • Munene Mugambi

          15 w

          I'm saddened by the following statement, "Even though I spend most of my time working on climate, if I’m honest, most days I don’t have any sense that what I’m doing makes any difference in the world, to the climate, or to other people." It shows that for every one good deed done, someone is working hard to undo that and take us a few steps back. Despicable

          3
          • Princess

            15 w

            Individual efforts, combined with a unified approach, contribute to a sustainable future. Let's keep pushing for positive change in 2024 and beyond!

            8
            • Munene Mugambi

              15 w

              @princess_nel_268 Individual efforts alone will never solve our problems, I think we have to stop the cause before trying to provide stopgap solutions as they're clearly not working.

              2
            • Edwin wangombe

              15 w

              The time to give up on the fight against climate change is never!!! Giving up on this fight is like putting a gun on our head and pulling the trigger. All we need is personal responsibility which will spill into the community leading to a global collective action that will bring the desired change in the world.

              4
              • Munene Mugambi

                15 w

                @edwin_wangombe we shall fight for our climate for as long as we can. We know the right path and shall lead others on it.

                2
              • Patrick Kiash

                15 w

                The climate crisis extends beyond direct effects on health, undermining societal well-being and the conditions necessary for a healthy population. Etc Notably, these effects are unevenly distributed, with regions contributing the least to climate change bearing the brunt of climate-related health risks. Africa, South and Central America, Asia, and small island developing states face disproportionate challenges. All this can definately make someone of this areas feel despair,hopelessness, or either to give up,etc, but we need to be our brother's keeper, the more we raise awareness, it creates more "hope" a very important hope that they need, inspirations, etc as how We Don't Have Time do as well as Climate Hero,etc, but we can do more. Solutions are in our reach if we keep encouraging all not to give up,let's all continue taking that #ClimateAction and winning more this year and years to come. It can start simply by "Taking Test",in this article and from there it can take you to the next step.

                5
                • Munene Mugambi

                  15 w

                  @patrick_kiash Also, the most affected people also have the least influence on stopping climate change as their efforts are minimal and often overlooked by the decision makers.

                  2
                • DIPANJANA MAULIK

                  15 w

                  I came across a line as a teenager and I still believe it and love it very much. This line was: "No defeat is final until you stop trying". It is true that there is a huge gap between the scale of actions required and the level of actions, which are being taken at present. But if we give up now then we lose everything. Isn't it better to keep trying and to keep exploring the scope of improvements than to succumbing to extinction without even a fight? Victor Frankl in his famous book "In search of meaning" showed how 'givipities' -a typical giving up syndrome of war prisoners used to cause their early and almost voluntary death! Why should we die before death actually embraces us? Well at this point of discussion I must confess that I too feel like giving up n number of times in my own endeavors but then till now I overcame this feeling n+1 times. I call these cycles as "chronic givipities". Because chronic illnesses are somewhat draining but not life threatening. Let us accept few matter facts. This fight demands energy, enthusiasm and endurance. We are going through difficult times and life shall keep throwing curve balls. We shall make mistakes. We shall fail. We shall beat ourselves. We shall feel like giving up just before rising again one more time. Human brains are immensely powerful and cherish challenges. Human minds find peace in loving. Intelligence and honesty find the way. Courage forges the way. Love leads the way. We must celebrate our strengths by keep trying one more time. Because that's the way, through which humanity excelled in this planet earth. Let us try again one more time.

                  7
                  • Ingmar Rentzhog

                    15 w

                    @dipanjana_maulik very true!

                    6
                    • Munene Mugambi

                      15 w

                      @dipanjana_maulik You don't stop trying as long as you have an ounce of energy left. Fight for our planet's liberation

                      2
                    • Alireza Makvandi

                      15 w

                      Interaction in doing this requires group and coherent work. If we personally want to do great things that are effective, we need the support of leaders and politicians. Personally, I was able to do good and useful things in order to remove pollutants, I also sent you many messages. But you did not answer. I have solutions to relieve water stress, control floods, remove the salinity of very salty waters, prevent the evaporation of water in the dam lake, etc., and some of these solutions have reached the implementation stage.

                      5
                      • Munene Mugambi

                        15 w

                        @alireza_makvandi I find relying on politicians and leaders to help us out of this mess as an unreliable way as they got us in this mess in the first place, what are the odds they're willing to forgo their power and financial benefits for the planet now?

                        2
                      • George Kariuki

                        15 w

                        Individual action needs to be complemented by strong collective efforts and systemic changes like renewable energy policies and fossil fuel phase-out plans.

                        5
                        • Munene Mugambi

                          15 w

                          @george_kariuki Collective action through cutting the source of the problem (ie; fossil fuels) and followed by corrective measures will start us off on the right track

                          2
                        • walter lungayi

                          15 w

                          Encouraging collective action and a systematic approach is crucial for achieving significant reductions in emissions and phasing out fossil fuels. #TOGETHERWECANDOIT#WEDONTHAVETIME

                          5
                          • Munene Mugambi

                            15 w

                            @walter_lungayi We have to hold hands and say, enough is enough. How much further shall our planet be destroyed before we act?

                            2
                          • [Deleted comment]

                            15 w

                            [Deleted comment]

                          • Anne Svare

                            15 w

                            Thank you: We Don't have Time 💚

                            12
                            • We Don't Have Time

                              15 w

                              Please share your reflections on this topic, or comment on what actions you are taking to foster hope for the year 2024.

                              5
                              • Munene Mugambi

                                14 w

                                @WeDontHaveTime The main action I am taking and I think we should all take is making the move from online activism to ground work. When we start working we csn inspire others to join us in making a beautiful change in our planet

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