What is the difference in temperature within a day? What's the difference in temperature between 6am and 12pm? How about between 12pm and 6pm? My weather app shows that it was 50° at 6am, and 67° by 12pm. At 6pm, the temperature dropped to 60°. In the span of 12 hours, the temperature went up by 17°, and then fell down by 7°. That's a 24° change in one day.
Living in Los Angeles, how does that change affect me? Only slightly. When I get out of the shower in the morning, I'm a little cold, so I quickly dry myself. When I go out, I take a light jacket with me. I don't even get to wear it throughout the day. When I come home, I resume playing with my children never thinking about the weather again.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the global average temperature has been on the rise. Counting from 1975, 45 years ago, the average temperature has increased by 0.9° Celsius or 1.62° Fahrenheit.
What this means is glaciers are melting at a faster rate, water levels are rising, coral reefs are dying. There are more heatwaves, more hurricanes, more floods. It also means agricultural crops are not yielding or less food for us. Wild animals are dying due to less water sources. In other words, it is terrible. This will lead to our demise.
But, what is 1.62°? In a single day we can go through 24° of change, why worry about a measly 1 degree over the course of 45 years? That's why climate change is still something we ask if you "Believe In".
We are human beings and we only care about things we can relate to. It's very hard to see the connections between a small rise in temperature and the actual effect, even if it is there. Selling climate change with a measly degree is not something most people can understand or relate to. It is time we change that narrative.
The first time I landed in Cairo, Egypt, the second they opened the airplane's door, I knew something was amiss. It smelled like something was burning. Cairo, is one of the most polluted cities in the world. In Cairo, no one asks if you believe in pollution. You smell the horrible smog every single day. This is what man-made pollution looks like. It's not something that will affect you in a distant future, you smell it right now.
A smoker hardly sees the connection between a cigarette and lung cancer. It takes ~25 years to build the chronic effects of cigarette. Climate change takes even longer for the effect to become chronic. In the mean while, we need to change the narrative to talk about the effects that are already here.