Nina Dehnhard / Seabird Ecologist

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) / Ecology

The translation of this testimony was generated automatically by a translation program. Thanks for your understanding.

In my field of expertise, seabird ecology, I see the effects of climate change threatening the existence of many species. The species I studied for my PhD and first post-doc project, southern rockhopper penguins, are declining and may get extinct as a result of climate change. As a human being, and thinking globally, it hurts to realise that especially people in poorer countries that contributed the least to CO2-emissions will suffer the most: People who will lack drinking water and food due to droughts and desertification, people whose homes are getting destroyed by cyclones and rising sea levels. I fear a future of conflicts and wars about water and mass migration. The last summer in central Europe gave us a good taste of what future generations will have to endure as “normal” conditions. People were dying as a cause of the heat wave, and the same happens with storms, floods, cyclones worldwide. What are the economical and societal costs for such extreme events (which are getting more frequent with climate change)? These figures are increasing and will further increase. Climate change is not some future, distant event, it is happening now, and if we do not act fast, it will only get worse.
Thus, if politicians are delaying climate-actions since they are worried that e.g. stepping out of coal for energy-production will destroy jobs and be too costly, they actually do not see the real costs. They are making decisions which come at the cost of our climate, the environment, our society and the lives of people.
So, what can we do? Very simply reconsider our behaviour to save resources and energy wherever possible: Every single one of us can change, e.g. by cycling to work and driving less with the car. Share a car and/or buy a car that has a low fuel consumption. Drink tap-water instead of (plastic-)bottled water. Eat seasonal and locally produced food and less meat since lifestock production accounts for 14.5% of our greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, try to fly as little as possible – and if you do compensate for your flights and also the mileage of your car.
Thus, everybody has a choice, it is not just the politicians. At the next elections, consider your choices and the future, and vote accordingly. Be creative, share your knowledge and inspire people to make think about their actions.