A scientist who believed humans would die from the climate crisis has made a U-turn and now believes the issue may have been overblown.
Hannah Ritchie, a data scientist at the University of Oxford, claims that doomsday warnings of floods, widespread famine, and deaths from disasters are overshadowing the progress that has been quietly made in recent years. [emphasis, links added]
She pointed out how emissions per person peaked in 2012 and remained the same since, along with the notion that organic food is not more climate-friendly and that the dreaded 2.7F of warming is not a tipping point into oblivion
She [explained] that it may do less harm to consider that the total doom is an exaggeration as ‘the exaggeration simply acts as a counterbalance to those who underplay the issue.‘
‘But I’m convinced that there is a better, more optimistic and honest way forward.’ the book continued.
‘It has become common to tell kids that they’re going to die from climate change,’ the first line of the Introduction reads.
1. Small stuff is taking away from the big picture
The overexaggeration is what seems to have led Ritchie to do a 180 on the issue, finding it has distracted us with small issues.
But in the grand scheme of things, such acts are small and only cause stress like forgetting a canvas bag when visiting the grocery store.
Those changes, she explained, have the largest impact in reducing a person’s carbon footprint, while ditching plastic straws only makes a tiny dent – reports show 0.025 percent of plastic pollution comes directly from straws.
2. Debunking the local and organic food myth
Many restaurants proudly exclaim their menu items are either locally grown or organic – and sometimes both.
The idea behind buying those potions is that they reduce greenhouse gas emissions, due to a reduced shipping distance and that organic crops do not use fossil fuel-based fertilizers.
Ritchie highlighted a survey in 2021, which found six in 10 people worldwide believed eating a locally produced diet, including meat and dairy products, is a better way to reduce an individual’s greenhouse gas emissions.
However, [Ritchie] debunked that idea with the fact that ‘food miles’ accounted for only five percent of global emissions attributed to the food industry.
Ritchie continued to explain that it is not where your food comes from that reduces emissions, it is what the food choice is.
A recent study from Oxford University found that eating just 100g of meat per day – less than a single burger – creates four times more greenhouse gases compared with a vegan diet.
Ritchie noted that hearing organic food is not all it is cracked up to be may be surprising to most people.
The reason this option is not the most climate-friendly is because organic fertilizers also emit greenhouse emissions and contaminate water supplies.
Then there is the fact organic farms need more land, which in turn emits more carbon.
‘Nuclear energy, dense city-living, and processed food can all be good for the environment, despite going against our instincts,’ Ritchie wrote for The Times.
‘If we’re to embrace these solutions, ‘sustainable living‘ needs a rebrand.’
Read rest at Daily Mail
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