Our choices, our future

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Temps de lecture : 2 minutes  

Un voile orange enveloppe le pont de la baie de Sydney pendant une tempête de sable, Australie. © AFP PHOTO / Greg Wood

The Earth is getting warmer. The effects can already be felt: floods, droughts, more extreme weather phenomena. If we manage to limit the increase in temperatures to 2° C, all the environmental balances that have already been weakened by developments in society will undergo major changes.

But it is impossible to predict what the weather will be like in the future. It is not just a scientific problem. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) imagined and described several scenarios that took a certain number of factors (climatic, population, economic, technological) into account. Some resulted in a surge of greenhouse gas emissions and a sharp increase in global temperature; in others, the emissions or the temperatures became stable. No one scenario is more likely to occur than another, they just give an overall view of possible futures.

Indeed, the main factor that will determine what path our society will take is not scientific; it is societal which means that it will depend on our collective choices. Because our greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore the weather in the future, will be completely different depending on whether there are 10 billion human beings driving four-wheel drives and using resources as fast as they are today – or even faster, or 7 billion people riding bicycles, using public transport and leading lifestyles that don’t encourage the continuous acquisition of material possessions.

We are at a turning point in our history and our future is in our hands: nothing is inevitable. Governments, cities, companies, NGOs and individuals can each act at their own level with their own means and invent the world of the future. The fact that it will be very different from the world we know does not necessarily mean that it will be bleak. As Gandhi once said: “There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed”.

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