In the environmental movement, October 8, 2018 is a date that lives in infamy. That’s when the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its (very bleak) special report outlining the challenges that lie ahead if global warming exceeds 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.
Today, nearly three years later, the IPCC is back with another much-anticipated climate change report. This time around, 234 volunteer scientists sifted through over 14,000 studies and came to a loud-and-clear conclusion: we’re heading down a dangerous path and if we don’t radically reduce our emissions, the results will be catastrophic.
The report (which you can read in full here) contextualizes the widespread wildfires, severe droughts, and extreme storms happening around the world as part of the larger climate puzzle and warns that, without immediate action, they likely get worse.
In response, headlines are declaring a “code red for humanity” alongside images of climate refugees and burning homes. It’s not a fun day to be on the internet.
Needless to say, news like this can bring a wave of difficult emotions. When we asked a number of environmental advocates how they’re feeling today, responses ranged from disappointed to hopeless to terrified. The choice we have now is whether to give up or speak out.
This report is a punch in the gut. But once we catch our breath, we can also use it as a reminder of the work that needs to be done. Here, climate activists share how they are processing it, and how they hope it can inspire the quick and decisive action we need in the days, weeks, and years ahead: