No Time to Lose!
An appeal of the professional and cultural community to Slovak Government, media and public concerning the climate crisis
On October 8 2018, the scientific community made an alarming announcement: The warning of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes it clear that only twelve years remain for transformation of the society and diversion from fossil fuels, if global warming is to be kept at 1.5 °C. Otherwise, it will be impossible to prevent the direst consequences. This means that that obligations arising from the 2015 Paris Agreement shall no longer be sufficient.
The collapse is in full swing: deforestation, droughts, fires, floods, serious water, soil and air pollution, extinction of species, rising sea levels and ever more extreme weather fluctuations. If we do not act immediately, the Earth and our country are likely to change beyond recognition within a decade. What lies ahead are energy and food crisis, mass migration and epidemic breakouts.
Our society is engaged in a lot of legitimate struggles – for freedom, democracy, justice, employment, high-quality health care and education. If we lose our fight against climate change, however, all the others will be lost as well. Irreversibly. It is necessary to open a society-wide debate whether it is possible to maintain life on Earth as we know it at the current pace of consumption, depletion of non-renewable energy resources, air and water pollution and massive deforestation.
We must not allow short-term interests to win over ethics, morality and personal responsibility for the world in which we live. Although most strategies for curbing climate change have already been identified, there is a lack of general will to put them into practice. Reduction of global warming requires quick and thoroughgoing changes and systemic solutions across all sectors. All of us, without exception, will have to contribute to them. We need to search for solutions to alleviate the climate crisis and its effects, if we are to live our lives with dignity in a decent world. Therefore let’s ask for climate justice.
At the beginning of December 2018, the COP24 climate change conference, with participation of over 200 countries, was held in Katowice, Poland. We want Slovakia to belong among the countries that actively fightfor immediate deceleration of climate change on behalf of its inhabitants and every person on this planet. We wish to be a country inspiring positive change.
We appeal to the Government of the Slovak Republic to recognize climate change as a problem of highest priority and to present adaptation and regulation strategies to the public. We demand that experts and specialists be invited to participate in the decision making – personages with long-standing experience with issues of environmental protection, circular economy, renewable energy sources, humanist environmentalism and other fields, including social sciences. We request that production of energy from fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) be quickly brought to an end and replaced with more ecologically sound sources of energy to the highest extent possible.
We appeal to state authorities and municipalities to cooperate with environmentalist organisations, as well as activist and volunteer associations that increase the visibility of the current situation, proposing and adopting particular steps towards its improvement. Those who point out the urgency of the problem deserve support not repression.
We appeal to public officials as well as figures of public life not to underestimate the situation concerning climate change and the environment. It is also their silence and lack of interest that reassures the public in its indifferent attitude, disparagement and ignorance of serious warnings given by the scientific community.
We appeal to people in executive positions in major companies operating in Slovakia, the greatest producers of emissions, to take responsibility for the consequences of their activities. We ask them to adopt regulation measures in order to stop devastating practices and to turn to more environment-conscious solutions. Profit is not the only measure of success – it is also judged by social responsibility and will to change the course of the society for the better. Air, water and life cannot be made or bought. The power to avert a catastrophe is in your hands, too.
We appeal to academia, to teachers on all levels of the educational system to commit to more comprehensive integration of issues related to the climate crisis and ecology into school curricula. They should put appropriate emphasis on consistent information about problems and their possible solutions, as well as group discussions about necessary changes in the life of each individual and family. It is children and young adults that will be the ones most affected by climate change in the future. Let’s give them a chance to assume a clear position, to search for solutions and take action.
We appeal to mass media, primarily public ones, to give intensive and regular attention to climate change in the main news coverage as well as special programmes. It is necessary to offer the public clear and prompt information about the urgency of the problem, provide experts with space in the media and give individual voices opportunities to put forward their solutions.
We appeal to everybody to boldly oppose practices of unbridled plundering of the country, long-term ignorance of expert opinions as well as slow and insufficient adoption of necessary measures. All of us immediately have to start cooperating on reducing CO2 and waste production. We have to join in environment protection and the renewal of forest ecosystems.