The hottest Olympics in history As the 2021 Olympic Games opened in late July, Tokyo was in the midst of a humid heat wave that pushed temperatures above 34°C (93°F) several days in a row. Human-caused global warming has contributed to a 1.5°C (2.7°F) increase in temperatures in Tokyo since 1964 and a 2.86°C (5.14°F) increase since 1900. That is nearly three times the global average. Credit: NASA
The world is ending. What are we going to do about it?
The world is ending, and we all know it.
It seems that almost every day we experience another devastating oil spill or earthquake or flash flood. A recent UN climate report asserted that we are past the point of no return with regard to experiencing devastating impacts of climate change. This all takes place amidst a pandemic which has killed over 4 million globally, and which shows no signs of stopping.
The world is ending. There’s no denying it.
"Things can always get worse, but they don't have to."
If you know me at all, you know that I spend a lot of time thinking about the end of the world, but I am not a hopeless person (depending on who you ask.)
One of the countless things I have learnt from abolitionist organiser, educator, and writer Mariame Kaba is that we ought to view hope as a discipline—something that we must intentionally practice. As she puts it, “hope doesn’t preclude feeling sadness or frustration or anger or any other emotion that makes total sense. Hope isn’t an emotion, you know? Hope is not optimism. Hope is a discipline… we have to practice it every single day.”
Things can always get worse, but they don’t have to. Moments of crisis can provide enormous opportunities to reshape conditions, in part because they reveal the weaknesses and hypocrisies of the system as it stands.
Over the course of the pandemic, some of us were lucky enough to catch glimpses of how things could be. From stimulus checks to remote work and learning to increased unemployment benefits, governments all over the world showed exactly what they could have been doing all along to protect and care for their populations, but that they chose not to. Others, however, were left vulnerable to the worst of the pandemic, forced to fend for themselves as a result of capitalist greed that prioritises profits over human life.
So, the world is ending. What are we going to do about it?