I was hesitant to begin this blog entry by referring to the newest findings from the UN IPCC report -- 1) because I feared that you wouldn't read beyond that. And this hesitation pretty much sums up my main point. We're tired of hearing that we are the problem, we don't know how to react to the fact that human activities with 95 percent certainty are the principal cause of climate change. It is a serious problem that begins with us -- it's about time that we realize the solutions do, too.
It is 'extremely likely' (meaning that there is now at least 95 percent certainty) that human activities caused most of the observed increase in surface temperature over the last 60 years.
When you read the conclusions from the report, you have to ask yourself, do we need more evidence to support that our way of life is unsustainable? And two other questions immediately present themselves: What exactly is keeping us from acting on this information right away? Why is the transition to a sustainable society not on top of every single national agenda?
According to Andrew McKeon, Director of Operations at Markit Environmental Registry, the human psychology component of our failure to react to climate change is the inability for human beings to appreciate invisible, slow-moving problems. In other words, we don't fear what we can't see, and therefore we don't react.
That said, the message from the IPCC panel is clear. Ninety-five percent certainty that climate change is man made means that we -- you and me -- are the reason why the certainty level is unprecedentedly high. We are the 95 percent.
We are the ones who have caused an unequivocal warming of the climate system. We are the ones who have caused the concentrations of greenhouse gases to increase. We are the ones who will cause a temperature rise of more than 4 degrees Celsius higher than in pre-industrial times, if we don't act now. We are the 95 percent.
Acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step to recovery. Acknowledging that you are a part of the problem leads to another more optimistic, empowering conclusion; if the problems are man-made the solutions must be, too!
Not quite 95 percent, but we're getting there
According to a study conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Communication in 2012, Americans' belief in the reality of global warming has increased by 13 percentage points over the past two and a half years, from 57 percent in January 2010 to 70 percent in September 2012. At the same time, the number of Americans who say global warming is not happening has declined nearly by half, from 20 percent in January 2010 to only 12 percent today.
For the first time since 2008, more than half of Americans (54%) believe global warming is caused mostly by human activities.
This is a positive trend, because awareness really is important. But we've also reached a point where awareness alone won't cut it. Action is required, solutions are needed.
The solutions are already out there
All around the world, people and organizations are working out smarter ways of doing everyday things -- buying sustainable fashion, fixing electronic devices so you don't have to buy new ones, bottling sunlight for off-grid housing... and much more.
Viewed individually, these ideas are a fragmented approach towards creating sustainable solutions -- put together, they make out a movement towards the sustainable world of tomorrow.
It is the ambition to accelerate this movement that Sustainia is based on. Sustainia is an innovation platform where companies, NGOs, foundations and thought leaders come together to support and work with a tangible approach to sustainability. With a focus on readily available solutions, we seek to speed up sustainable transformation of sectors, industries and our everyday life.
For two years in a row, we have asked the public to send us their sustainable solutions. They have to fit the following criteria: they must be ready-and-available, have a positive environmental impact, be financially viable, improve quality-of-life and be scalable.
From the many hundreds of solutions received, we narrowed it down to Sustainia100 and on Nov. 7, 2013, we honor the 10 best solutions in Copenhagen. In total, we've received over 1,200 solutions from around the globe -- the solutions in this year's Sustainia100 list are deployed in 128 countries, a proof of the great potential that lies within them.
When the solutions started pouring in, we were affirmed in our hypothesis, that a sustainable world is not some kind of utopia, it could be ours to inhabit tomorrow, if we used the ready and available solutions already feasible to us now.
All we need to remember is that we are the 95 percent -- we've had hundreds and hundreds of reports proving this fact. Now is the time to convert the force of the 95 percent into creating the solutions. The attitude towards the world should be this: You break it -- you fix it!