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Final climate warning

By Breanna Crawford

As of March 20, 2023, the public received the “final warning” about the climate crisis. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, “Our world needs climate action on all fronts—everything, everywhere, all at once,” calling on every country and every sector to massively fast-track efforts to fight the climate crisis. The IPCC’s synthesis report (from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) shows us that effective climate action requires political commitment, multi-level governance, and institutional frameworks, laws, policies, and strategies. The report also talks about adequate finance, financial tools, clear goals, and inclusive governance action. When mitigation and adaptation are applied together, combined with wide sustainable development, that will provide multiple benefits for human well-being, ecosystems, and healing the earth.

What we need to know

The center of the climate crisis is water. Two billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water. Also, half of the world is facing water scarcity. Climate change has dangerously affected the supply of freshwater. The weather events have become extremely severe, especially when it comes to floods and droughts. As global temperatures rise, that also increases the moisture that the atmosphere can grasp. These events will most likely continue. We need to take steps towards water solutions. We need to look into healthy aquatic ecosystems and enhance management of water, and mitigate against climate hazards. Wetlands are exceedingly effective carbon sinks, being able to draw in and store CO2. This helps decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Wetlands do also distribute a barrier against extreme weather. Water supply and sanitation systems could hold out against climate change. However, if water is used competently, that can help lessen the demand on freshwater supplies.

It is imperative that we take action on a global scale about the climate crisis and all the other factors that play into it. Our window to take climate action is closing. If countries do not up their efforts to tackle this crisis, the world will face catastrophe.


—Breanna Crawford, a member of the PeaceWorks KC Board, is an Indigenous Cherokee/Dakota (Sioux) enrolled in the Cherokee Nation. © 2023, Breanna Crawford, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License.

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