Updated: Apr 5, 2019
“The climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that humans have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it. We have to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases. And either we do that or we don’t.
You say nothing in life is black or white. But that is a lie. A very dangerous lie. Either we prevent a 1.5 degree of warning or we don’t. Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction or we don’t beyond human control or we don’t. Either we choose to go on as a civilization or we don’t. That’s as black or white as it gets.
We must change everything in our societies or we don’t. The bigger your carbon footprint is, the bigger your duty. The bigger your platform, the bigger your responsibility. Adults keep saying, we owe it to the young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel everyday. Then I want you to act. I want you to act as if you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire. Because it is.” - Greta Thunberg
This quote never fails to send chills up my spine. We are in a the precipice of a climate disaster and yet we are all still driving cars to work everyday, everything is given to us wrapped in plastic and corporations such as Exxon and Shell, the main distributors of toxic greenhouse gases that will literally burn us to death, are unregulated and unchecked.
Our death as a civilization is upon us. This is not hyperbole or exaggeration, it’s science. Our sea levels will rise to the point of submerging cities and islands. Temperatures will rise to irreversible levels leaving us scorched in never-ending heat waves. Animals will go extinct. Ecosystems will collapse. Contrary to popular belief, there is no planet B.
Let us be crystal clear on this point: black and brown communities across the globe will be affected and destroyed first. This is already happening. Cyclone Idai has just demolished three countries in one fell swoop. The death toll has reached 1,000 at least. Island nations have currently been facing a drastic choice - leave or die. Last year, we saw islands almost vanish in the wake of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico was in the dark for months. People were eating newspapers to survive. We have leaders from island nations desperately imploring for change and rightfully casting blame on nations such as The United States and China for emitting the most greenhouse gases in the world.
Tanetia Mamau said at last year’s climate change summit: “The prosperity enjoyed by a few developed countries has become the tragedy and misery of the masses in the developing countries and particularly those most vulnerable to climate change.”
If we take a magnifying glass just to the United States, the people suffering the most from climate change come from historically targeted communities. We have cities in California that are experiencing all-time high heat waves and these cities have little trees and sometimes no air conditioning. We have undocumented folks that are afraid to get help during a hurricane for fear of being deported and literally caged. We may not have straws lodged into our noses but make no mistake, we are suffocating.
At Queers in Space, we know that climate change is one of the most pressing and intersectional issues of our time. If there is a spaceship coming to take people away from our dying home planet, we won’t be on it. Exxon, Shell, and Chevron will be waving us goodbye as our planet wastes away in a storm of fire and ice.
Greta is asking us to panic and act. If you are so called, I am asking you to panic and write. Panic and create. The beauty of science fiction is all social justice was science fiction before it happened. What can we do? What would do we need to create? What worlds are possible? I want your submissions. I want your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your phobias and your heart on a page.
We will be collecting creative submissions on climate change, food justice, etc. until April 30th 2019. Please email us your submission at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're interested in getting involved with climate change organizing and don't know where to start, check out these links to get some direction:
World Wildlife Fund: https://www.worldwildlife.org/
Earth Justice: https://earthjustice.org/
The 35 Easiest Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/12/27/35-ways-reduce-carbon-footprint/