If not now, when?

I had the incredible experience of being part of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Training in Brazil. If you haven’t seen “An Inconvenient Truth” or “Al Gore’s Ted Talk”, I recommend that you watch them. Al Gore’s passion and commitment is infectious. Listening to his remarkable presentations on climate change, his workshops and the conversations, with the more than 600 participants, gave me a toolkit, inspiration and a renewed commitment: if we do not do anything about this now…then when?

Al Gore

 Now: a point of no return

Climate change is happening right now. We are at a point of no return. Numerous examples show glaciers melting, the oceans acidifying and extreme weather events as droughts, storms are happening right at our feet. The situation is urgent.

The change we are seeing is more than statistics. It is about people. Here is the story that moved my heart: In 2013, after a period of decreased deforestation, deforestation in the Amazon again spiked. This happened, despite the international frameworks, commitments and initiatives to raise awareness about deforestation. With the trees removed, the sun exposed the soil, water from the soil evaporated and the temperature in the deforested area increased with 1.5 degrees. Brazil’s deforestation is the direct cause of the recent droughts in Sao Paolo.

In Chingu, an Indian reservation in the Amazon rainforest, the Indians have sustainably managed their natural resources. The secret: they have only used traditional means. An Indian from Chingu shared how this deforested area, is now run by them and today it is completely green, with lush trees capturing the sunlight and water. I am clear on one thing: if we are going to change the recent patterns, we need to work with the local population who are actually affected.

local population 

Accumulative results make a difference

We cannot hope that someone else will solve the climate change problems. We cannot lose hope.  And we cannot wait for the perfect solutions. Simple frameworks are being developed; lets implement them. Simple ideas that may be part of the solution are being developed; lets implement them. Whenever possible, eat more locally grown food, ensure that the electricity you use is from renewable energy sources, and consume less. This will send a signal to the market of what we want and what the Earth needs. Because if not now, when?

Read more about Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.