The decisions we make now will impact our future; a reality we likely can all understand because we’ve experienced this within our personal lives. We frequently make choices based on how to positively influence where we’re headed and/or mitigate any potential adversity. It’s much the same when it comes to global warming — what we decide to do today has a ripple effect on whether or not we alleviate or magnify the disruption and damage that climate change brings.
How we see ourselves in relation to this chain of cause and effect on Earth’s ecosystems is all important; too many people still think environmental action can wait because of a mistaken belief that the consequences of climate change are not being felt — or that humans are somehow separated from nature in a way that insulates us from climate breakdown. Failing to recognize we represent an integral part of the natural world means we overlook our influence and can ignore our responsibilities. The relationship between humans and Earth’s ecology is inextricably interconnected; the quality and continuance of life rely on balance and reciprocity — it always has.
Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us. | Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants – Robin Wall Kimmerer
This article is the second installment within the Climate Change Collective blog series; a group created by Michelle from Eco Boomer Crusader and Jamie of Jamie Ad Stories where each month a different member of the collective will take turns to write a lead/focus post that shares key details, concerns and/or unique perspectives about climate change. Once the post is published, the rest of the group will link to it in a response-style blog on their own sites; discussing any thoughts and ideas they have about the information/issues raised.
The collective is currently open to any other bloggers who want to join; if you’re interested, get in touch.
Useful Article | Welcome to the Climate Change Collective – Eco Boomer Crusader
The Natural World, Climate Action and Us
Climate sustains a direct and influential impact on the world’s environmental ecosystems. We can’t maintain global food security and produce healthy, successful crops, for example, if we don’t tackle the emerging impacts that rising climate temperatures have on harvest growth/yield. A warming planet has set in motion a decline in key pollinator populations like bees and butterflies; two species so sensitive to rising temperatures it can alter their migratory, reproductive and hibernation behaviours. Drought and wildfires triggered by climate change also damage and destroy the habitats and food sources that these insects rely on.
It was only a few months ago that monarch butterflies were declared endangered because of unsustainable legal and illegal deforestation of the trees they use for winter shelter; as well as pesticide use and drought killing off milkweed (the only plant monarch caterpillars feed on). The natural world is alerting us to potential, and in some cases, ongoing issues that we cannot disregard — we have to encourage eco-friendly practices and policies on an industry-wide and individual/personal level. The delicate yet mighty monarch helps to spread pollen to food crops, plants and flowers; losing them would produce significant consequences for other flora and fauna that depend on them to survive.
They spread pollen as they flit from plant to plant, making it possible for blueberries, squash and other foods to grow. They pollinate many flowers as well. Monarchs are part of the food chain in another way: Birds, snakes and rats eat adult butterflies. Insects and spiders prey on the larvae. | Why Monarch Butterflies Are Endangered and How You Can Help – AZ Central
Everything on Earth relies on healthy, well-balanced natural systems; a changing climate that disrupts this interconnected sustenance will intensify the disorder and risks we all face. It’s not only just about being sad that bees and butterflies are disappearing, it’s about the vital role they play in plant reproduction; a cycle that we depend on for food, materials and medicines — all things that underpin our well-being and existence.
Long-term rising/warming temperatures and alterations in weather patterns do occur naturally over time (allowing for ecological adaption and survival) but human activity has triggered climate change at an alarming speed. What would typically involve millennia or even hundreds of thousands of years to shift has been sped up — primarily through burning nonrenewable fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, oil) that increase heat trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Useful Article | Mapped: How Climate Change Affects Extreme Weather Around the World – Carbon Brief
Whether fossil fuels are used for electricity, heat, transportation, agriculture or clearing land/forests for raw materials, etc.; this vast increase in usage in the last century has altered the environment at unviable, unprecedented levels. As they cause the climate to warm, they increase temperatures that change rainfall patterns and extend the frequency and duration of heat waves and drought. Higher temperatures start altering the balance of growing and blooming seasons — all of which impact the life-cycle of pollinator insects. It’s clear species like monarch butterflies and bees are as integral to our survival as we are to theirs.
In fact, there’s no separation between us and any ecological impact that global warming has. It doesn’t matter if it’s dwindling insect populations or extreme weather; deforestation or ocean acidification, for example — it all leads to a rapidly changing world that will become increasingly unliveable. We have to redefine our climate action to include how we see ourselves in relation to the environment — as a functional, intrinsic part of the natural world. What we do matters.
If you’re interested in gaining a more intimate knowledge of exactly how connected to the environment we are (and reliant on it), I highly recommend reading Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It revolutionized how I saw my place within the natural world and revealed exactly how incredible plants, animals and insects are.
I think if we could recognize how humanity is reflected and sustained within the beauty and balance of all life on Earth; we wouldn’t fail to act.
What are you doing to protect nature in your local area? What do you think local, national and world leaders could do to ensure climate action is taken more seriously?
Support the work of the Save Our Monarchs Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the embattled monarch butterflies.