THE MOST IMPORTANT WORDS YOU’LL READ TODAY – Madeleine Alizadeh’s “YOU ARE STANDING CLOSER TO THE EDGE THAN YOU THINK”

I’ve read a blog post that moved me. It gave me motivation to do better and more again and to remember why I call myself a sustainable lifestyle blogger. I am talking about a blog post written by the Austrian blogger Madeleine Alizadeh also known as DariaDaria. She wrote about the biggest current issue of our earth: climate change. She wrote it in German and since it moved me so much I immediately decided to translate it in English. Because it has to be read. Everyone should read it and everyone should be moved. I’ve linked the original German version here and please also watch the video she included in her post. I’ve embedded the video down below too.

You are standing closer to the edge than you think.

I kept quiet on my blog to dedicate my time to my podcasts, designing fashion and other activities in September 2017. Today, about a year later, I have the urge to do what we all have to do: to collectively, including myself, kick our ass.

The climate of the earth has increased by one degree Celsius since the industrial revolution. The Paris climate agreement, which took place on Earth Day 2016, talks about a two-degree-goal. It describes the goal of limiting the global warming to less than two degrees Celsius compared to the data before the start of the industrialisation. The chances of meeting this target are estimated by experts at 5%.

“We’re closer to the margin than we think”

Therefore, the realistic goal is not two but three degrees which would mean forests in the Arctic and flooding of almost all coastal cities. Experts assume a warming of four degrees. Permanent drought broadens over Europe, huge parts of China, India and Bangladesh are deserts, pacific islands like French Polynesia are under water because of sea level rise, citizens of metropolis like New York city, Mumbai, Shanghai or Hamburg have to escape and weather catastrophes are not unusual anymore. Scientists predict the end of human civilisation at five degree Celsius. However, a difference of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius would be sever according to a study of CarbonBrief.

When you look at the chronicle of the world climate conference, you’ll be astonished by the fact that we’ve almost closed a binding agreement between 1979 and 1989. Everything we know about climate change, we knew back then. Except that the chances were better back then than they are now. Even a couple of years later, when the Kyoto protocol brought first hopes after five years during the negotiations, the hopes were crushed when the USA and after that Canada and Australia bailed out.  Today we are standing in front of the problem again when the United States of America announced that they’d withdraw from the Paris agreement in summer 2017. A withdrawal of the USA, the second largest greenhouse gas emission source after China, could lead to an increase in temperature of 0.3 degree Celsius which makes the realisation of the stated two-degree-goal unreachable.

We have access to all the necessary information: we know that an increasing per capita gross domestic product means a bigger CO2 footprint and therefore, we know that we are the people that have to change something – not the people far away from us. It is us, the rich people that make bad decisions every day even though we have access to necessary freedom and wealth to make better decisions.

“World’s richest 10% produce half of global carbon emissions”

If an asteroid would fall towards earth, newspapers would all be covering the story. We would run, scream and try to stop the catastrophe with all of our abilities. We would realise that the edge is closer than we thought. Why then not now? Why does the catastrophic prophecies leave us cold?

First of all: we lack images. The film “The white shark” aired in 1975 which changed society’s image of the shark strongly. Regardless of the fact that sharks kill only 10 humans, hysteria and fear broke loose. Why this film doesn’t exist for climate change? The topic is too unsexy. Even shocking photo montages of artists like Nickolay Lamm for Climate Central stayed unnoticed.

“It’s not a very sexy subject, and people just don’t want to deal with it and think about it.”

Furthermore, we are too convenient. Too convenient to become more active, too convenient to talk about this inconvenient topic, too convenient to finish that long text about climate change, too convenient to leave the convenient comfort zone. We, the people who don’t live in a slum, who don’t stand on a cotton field, we, the people who live in Europe. We, the people of the EU who have the highest or second highest per capita gross domestic product of the world. Even when you are a student in Vienna with minimal income, your leverage is economically speaking a lot higher than the leverage of a citizen of India. Nevertheless, we take short-haul-flights, buy toxic clothing, eat meat. We always argument that the better decision would be too expensive even though we could afford to take the train more often, to buy less and in exchange ecological products and to not eat meat – with just a little bit effort. They are hypocritical arguments that we say daily like a Tibetan prayer wheel. Neglecting that it will get really expensive when the edge comes even closer.

And when now that you are almost done reading this text, your first thought  a defensive “but you are taking the plane yourself” or “I am doing enough, the others should make an effort” thought is then stop those thoughts now, start with yourself anyways and read on.

We, the ones who have access to education, knowledge, power and money are those who are standing in front of the edge and are looking down, maybe taking a selfie or two because abysses look great on Instagram. And it isn’t as funny as the photo after all. It, the image that the children and children of the children of this world will not stand in front of the edge of the abyss but instead are pushed into the abyss, in hell, the flames because we are not giving ourselves the kick but them.

-A TRANSLATION OF THE ORIGINAL GERMAN TEXT BY MADELEINE ALIZADEH 

Author: liviavanheerde

My name is Livia and I blog about a sustainable, ethical and vegan lifestyle. I live in Vienna and London where I study Environmental ScienceI. I am especially passionate about fair, eco-friendly and vegan fashion and you'll find lots of outfit ideas on this blog and my Instagram page.

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