12 years is not a long time at all and yet that’s the amount of time some scientists say we’ve got left in order to turn the world around (metaphorically, we don’t need to do a superman thing where we’ve actually got it spinning backwards or something) or else we’re doomed.
The horrifying, unbearable part of all this is that we could, with a concerted effort and very little imagination, pull it off, we could convert the world from a doomed planet to a blooming paradise under the sun, we could create an environment that is stable and sustainable, with oxygen at pre-industrial revolution levels, plastic free oceans absolutely teeming with fish, a tremendous diversity of pesticide and herbicide free, fresh vegetables.
We’ve mostly got the technology, and it’s still improving. Some of the problems could solve each other. For instance, we have a problem of rising ocean levels. We also have a problem off desertification. So, we need to move the water from the oceans into the deserts. Of course, it’s salt water. So, we need to desalinate it, which is energy intensive. Well, you know what else the desert has plenty of, besides land that’s waiting to be reclaimed? Sunshine. Lots and lots of it. That’s why they’re deserts. So, put up huge banks of solar panels to power the desalination plants, bring water to the desert and grow all the food that people need and a few problems solved all at once.
Then we need to set up high speed rail all over the world, switch everything over to clean, renewable energy, plant about a trillion trees, and get the plastic out of our oceans, and a few more things.
But most of them will save money, and all of them will have more than a single positive effect. So, we should start doing all of it, hard core, right now.