On top of the pandemic, climate change is the defining crisis of our time—and it is escalating faster than we feared. Right now, the idea of the climate crisis may seem too abstract or too big for ordinary citizens. Isn’t climate change a problem for governments and big corporations to solve? Its effects, for some, seem too abstract or too distant to affect their lives.

But that is far from the truth. Climate change already affects every aspect of our lives. The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said that climate change is “not a future problem.” For instance, scientists believe that the record-breaking heatwave that happened in the United Kingdom last July—where they experienced temperatures as devastatingly high as 40 degrees Celsius—may have been worsened by climate change. 

If we don’t do a bold collective move to mitigate its effects, we are looking at a bleak future—not just for us but also for our loved ones, and for generations to come.

How the climate crisis will further affect our lives

Climate change pertains to shifts in temperatures and weather patterns, which the burning of fossil fuels and coal have largely contributed to. The burning of fossil fuels, like coal, emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere—including carbon—which trap the heat from the sun, altering our climate. These changes in our planet’s temperature, in turn, affect many aspects of the planet related to human life—agriculture, water supply, wildlife, energy sources, and even our health. The planet’s ecosystem is linked and interrelated; hence, drastic changes in its temperature would cause changes to the planet’s entirety.

Right now, we're reminded of the climate crisis when there are super typhoons (like the ones we have been experiencing in the past decade). Elsewhere, extreme flooding, melting ice caps and glaciers, and extreme drought can be attributed to climate change. But in the future, we'll feel these effects much more often as they may become even more commonplace.

Many of these changes will have a direct effect on our lives. Studies state that global climate change will cause typhoons to be more intense and unpredictable—think storms during seasons when there normally aren’t any. Meanwhile, heat waves will become longer, more frequent, and even hotter. Closer to home, think of typhoons and super typhoons such as Ondoy and Yolanda and how the destruction they brought affected millions of people's lives. 

In turn, these changes in our weather system will affect wildlife and the environment; heat waves cause droughts, which will affect crop harvest, impacting food sources. And with food sources handicapped due to extreme weather conditions, even water and the most basic food item will become scarce, which could drive up their prices.

These are not hypothetical scenarios; these will affect how we live our lives. Scientists have attributed the recent extreme weather events—such as the 2019 water shortage and the 2021 super typhoon Odette that affected many areas in the Philippines—to climate change. It's clear that these occurrences will become common due to the climate crisis, if no changes are made.

What we can do to help

Big changes don’t happen overnight. And they need to come from policymakers and the world’s biggest industries—which, according to reports, are responsible for more than half of the global emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Still, this change is happening. Many countries and companies are moving towards decarbonization—the process of reducing carbon emissions. This means reducing their carbon footprint and choosing energy sources that produce less greenhouse gases, if at all.

For ordinary citizens who don’t have the option to choose their energy source yet, they can opt to have a decarbonized lifestyle instead. This means being conscious of our consumption and lifestyle decisions, choosing those that contribute the least to the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

A decarbonized lifestyle, in general, means rethinking and reconfiguring our lives to make sure our actions produce the least amount of carbon emissions, if at all. This could include actions and lifestyle decisions such as buying things in bulk and using reusable containers (as to produce less waste, hence less carbon emissions), choosing consumer items from companies that are mindful of their production process (for instance, less fast fashion items, as these pieces of clothing encourage a fast cycle of producing and disposing clothes), and choosing transportation options that produce no carbon dioxide (such as riding a bicycle). Overall, it's about being conscious of the environmental impact of our actions. Aside from these, we can also support businesses that are actively taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, such as those that are powered by clean and renewable energy sources.  

In turn, a decarbonized future means tapping into renewable energy sources  such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal to provide energy needs. With a decarbonized future, we could make sure that the effects of the climate crisis would not get even worse. Ecosystems will start to recover, weather conditions should slowly normalize, water and food supply can become more sustainable. But this can only happen if we push for large-scale decarbonization.

This movement has already started here in the Philippines. Companies like First Gen Corporation are leading the transition to a decarbonized and renewed Philippines.

First Gen provides clean and renewable energy from sources like solar, hydro, geothermal, wind, and natural gas. Our environmental problems run deep, that’s why First Gen aims to take sustainability a step further by advocating moving beyond sustainability and into a more ideal way of conducting business, which is with a decarbonized and regenerative mindset.

Check out First Gen’s official website to learn more about First Gen and its services.

This article was created by Summit Storylabs in partnership with FIRST GEN CORPORATION.