East Harlem’s Noble Prize winner, Dr. Paul G. Falkowski talked about the coming 2100 Harlem Flood on a Harlem World Magazine Podcast in 2019.
‘Take the money out of politics“
Naomi Klein, author
There is no one thing that would stop the planet’s warming – but what would make all kinds of other things possible is reining in the power of transnational capital over our governments. It is the power to financially reward (and punish) lawmakers, in various ways, that is the single biggest barrier to progress. We need to ban corporate campaign donations, direct and indirect, and we need to stop the revolving door between corporate lobbyists and lawmakers from spinning so a cushy job in the sector you are regulating isn’t an enticement to adopt pro-pollution policies.
‘Put out the sparks in cars and boats and buses’
Bill McKibben, environmentalist
It’s now possible – and necessary – for human beings to end their 200,000-year-old habit of combustion. Flames served us well in prehistoric times and made some of us rich during the Industrial Revolution. But now we need to stop setting things on fire and rely instead on the fact that the good Lord put a large ball of burning gas 93m miles up in the sky, which we now have the wit to make full use of. Keep firing up joints and barbecues, but put out the sparks in kitchens, in furnaces, in powerplants, in the engines of cars and boats and buses. And do it fast.
‘Make healthcare green’
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization
The health sector deals with many of the consequences of climate change. At the same time, it is responsible for about 5% of carbon emissions, making it a significant contributor to climate change, while hundreds of millions of people are still served by hospitals and clinics without electricity. After Cop26 last year, 60 countries committed to making their health systems more climate resilient, and to lowering carbon emissions from healthcare. The WHO is calling on every country to make the same commitment, and to provide clean and reliable electricity to every health facility.
‘Shift to reusables’
Nina Schrank, senior campaigner, Greenpeace UK
In our throwaway society, it feels as if we’re facing an avalanche of disposable plastic. One simple idea holds the key to turning this around reuse. The practice was embedded for generations in so many cultures across the globe, yet the corporate world has made us forget those traditions and the value we place in objects that have taken natural resources and energy to produce. We need to shift to reusable packaging that stays in circulation – used, washed, reused, and, crucially, out of the environment. The status quo simply isn’t working: we need to embrace the innovations that will allow reuse to flourish in the modern world.
To combat climate change we must massively invest to decarbonise our transport, energy and production systems: we need billions of euros for that, representing 2% of global GDP every year. The wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes to finance such efforts. This is all the more legitimate when we know that the wealthy contribute a disproportionate share to climate change. At the global level, 10% of the population contributes to about half of all emissions and there are also large pollution inequalities within each country.
‘Empower poor nations’
Sunita Narain, environmentalist
We can save the planet if we can save our common humanity. We have to move from being a divisive, deeply hateful, and unequal society to one that truly understands the interdependence that our common future needs. We have for too long neutered the politics of inclusion and equality because we believed that environmentalism was about finding the next disruptive technology. This will not work. We need nimby – not in my backyard – not for the rich but for the very poor so that they can say no to the next polluting project; so that communities and developing nations in the world can say no to the over-consumption that is driving our fossil fuel addiction. We need climate justice to be at the core of climate action.
‘Clean up public life’
Mike Berners-Lee, author
While the science and technology for saving the planet is challenging, it is not the bottleneck. But to deal with these complex systemic challenges requires high-quality, clear decision-making. At the moment, that process is largely disabled by hidden agendas, dishonesty, and greed. So my planet-saving idea is to cultivate and insist on much higher standards of honesty and compassion among our political and business decision-makers. Without it, nothing will work.
‘Rewild the planet’
Rebecca Wrigley, chief executive of Rewilding Britain, and George Monbiot, author
Rewilding – the mass restoration of life on Earth – can mend not only our living systems but also our relationship with them. By allowing forests, wetlands, savannahs, reefs, and other depleted ecosystems to return and regenerate, rewilding could simultaneously help stop the sixth great extinction and draw down much of the carbon we have released into the atmosphere. This positive environmentalism could be our best defense against despair.
‘Give power back to the people’
Jacqueline Patterson, founder and executive director of the Chisholm Legacy Project
The US is one of the biggest polluters in the world. It also has a major influence on climate negotiations, which, up until now, has been obstructive, with corporate interests serving as puppet masters. A major shift in our global political and economic situation would be to de-link the outsized influence that corporations have over US legislatures, courts, and regulatory systems, and therefore the amount of greenhouse gases the US emits domestically, as well as its influence over global negotiations and commitments from other nations. In sum, to achieve climate justice, we must ensure that power rests in the hands of the people.
These nine writers are featured in The Climate Book created by Greta Thunberg is published on 27 October 2022, by Allen Lane.
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