Henosis, an organization dedicated to uniting the world towards a sustainable future, is proud to welcome the often overshadowed holiday Earth Day. Created in 1970 by US Senator Gaylord Nelson, this day has since become the designated day to pay thanks to the planet that sustains us and gives us time to appreciate our connection to its function. However, in the last 52 years, the calls from advocates to treat that connection with sincerity and good faith have frequently been ignored in the name of profit. Year after year our newsfeeds become cluttered with tales of climate disasters and corporations turning a blind eye to their involvement in the process. At some point that non-stop drip-feed of ill tidings can turn even the most optimistic among us down the path of doomerism. This Earth Day we have decided to examine the health of our planet, the predicted impacts of climate damage, and the actions that are being taken to curb the tide of climate change.
As CO2 levels rise, so too does the occurrence of extreme weather events. These drastic weather shifts carry a whole host of problems, from putting the elderly at higher risk of heatstroke during heat waves, the destabilizing of our agricultural systems, and the forming of environments with increased odds of full-on climate disasters. Combine them and you end up with situations such as those found in California, where extreme weather has exaggerated the effects of drought conditions and lack of rain leading to some years where the inches of fallen ash from wildfires can convincingly appear to be higher than the average rainfall of previous decades.
We will not lie, it is looking pretty bad out there. As the deadline for the 1.5 degrees global temperature threshold approaches (predicted to arrive in 2034), we can expect the frequency and intensity of these climate events will worsen year after year. Doomerism is starting to look more appealing by the minute, but Hensosis rejects that apathetic mindset. It is easy to give into despair, comforting even, but when there is action available that can protect those in need then we would be foolish to look the other way. Yes, climate change is at the point where many of its ill effects are at an unavoidable stage, and yes many of those with the keys of power ignore the call to action that is so desperately needed. However, is nothing truly being done?
The reality of modern society is predicated on the acceptance that the beating heart of civilization runs on energy. Fossil fuels are the lifeblood of modern industry, and as populations expand and countries develop, that blood is in greater demand than ever before. Unfortunately, the production of fossil fuels is a massive contributor to the Greenhouse Effect making clean energy the #1 roadblock to a healthier world.
With the technologies we currently have access to today that roadblock is being addressed but at a tragically slow rate. It is one thing to ask developed countries to reduce their carbon emissions year by year, which thankfully is a process that is ongoing and successful, but developing countries actively require an expansion in fuel resources simply to rise to a competitive level with their peers who already rounded that corner. This inequity has gridlocked further advances in solving the problem due to the reality that we simply need a better system of energy going forward. In the spirit of equity and unity, Hensosis dedicates its resources to search for these alternative energy sources through collaborating with innovative companies such as Diamond Infrastructure with the goal of solving the root causes of climate change.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find those who are helping.” - Fred Rogers
Mankind has exasperated climate change. In the face of that cross to bear, organizations like Henosis have banded together to tackle this moment with courage and ingenuity.
Carbon capture technology - tech that removes CO2 from the air and traps it in compressed storage, is a modern technology that promises to solve the threat of the Greenhouse Effect in the most straightforward way possible. If we could feasibly remove the leading cause of climate change, we could theoretically completely turn the tide on this existential threat. However, with any new technology, the price of removing that carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is prohibitively expensive, taking about $600 dollars to remove just one ton of CO2.
Does that make the technology worthless? Far from it. A quick glance at how solar and wind technology has developed over time shows the future that can be achieved (with both sources of renewable energy becoming radically cheaper and accessible in the last decade alone.) As time marches on, our brightest minds find new ways to lower costs, environmental impact, and efficiency of these technologies making us at Henosis confident we will persevere..
Planning around future developments exclusively is a foolhardy endeavor that allows us to ignore the actions we can take today to improve the reality of the present. After all, while the cause of climate change can often be an invisible and slow-moving process, the visible impact of man on the planet is unavoidable.
From the Great Pacific Garbage Patch amassing in the Pacific Ocean to heavily polluted rivers, one of the most easily identifiable physical forms of damage to our environment. Countless tons of plastics, water pollution from chemical runoff and oil spills, and destruction of aquatic environments have left many communities on our planet without potable water, proper resources for food, and higher illness rates among those who live in proximity to that pollution. We can remove all the CO2 we want from the air, but if action isn’t taken to help the most vulnerable among us we would be actively participating in the misery of millions of our brothers and sisters.
Each Earth Day non-profits such as Ocean Cleanup make big pushes for further investment and volunteers to help clean up our planet. Even at the local level, you can hop online to see community outreach programs by everyday people cleaning up their cities and doing what they can to help the healing process of our environment. It's what makes this holiday so deeply personal to us. While it was started as a political platform by politicians more than half a century ago, Earth Day stands as an annual moment to take the time to consider action and activism to be a part of the march for change.
The world we live in today is not ideal, and our planet reflects that. It is plagued by pollution, climate change, and demotivated people who ask “Why even try?” The namesake of Henosis is derived from the Greek word for unity, and it is only through unity that we can solve the plight that threatens the future of our world and for the generations that will follow us. Will we leave behind an example worth striving for or will we pass the buck to our children who will have an even graver situation to navigate? This Earth Day, we invite you to join with Henosis and other organizations fighting for our planet. It is never too late to make a difference.