A desperate knock at our door

GLOBAL warming, also known as climate change, is an issue we've thrown around for decades. It's a familiar topic and you may be thinking, here we go again.

Like it or not, our sea levels are rising. The world is getting hotter. Coastal cities are feeling the effects. The foreseeable consequences are dire. So yes, here we go again.

A fresh report released this month shares a startling fact: The rise in sea levels may double before the year 2100. Data captured by Nasa and European satellites over 25 years has shown an acceleration in the rise of sea levels around the world.

But for many of us, the discussion on global warming has reached a point of fatigue.

Yes, we have to conserve energy by switching off the lights when they are not in use. We should use recyclable bags instead of paying for plastic bags. We have to reduce, reuse and recycle.

We know. But if we're honest with ourselves, the truth is so inconvenient. If you research how to significantly reduce your carbon footprint, some of the ways are simply beyond reach. Installing solar panels, for instance, is something you can only do if you have your own home.

In supermarkets, vegetables are packed neatly in cling wrap and classy polystyrene trays. Plastic bottles of water are affordable and easy to grab on-the-go. The world around us invites us to discard thought for the environment in exchange for convenience and comfort.

However, the reality is frightening. Scientists warn that the predicted sea level rise is only a conservative estimate based on the captured pace, but is not likely to remain constant. Greenhouse gases continue to be emitted at an alarming rate, resulting in a temperature rise.

This means warmer water, which expands and causes our sea levels to rise. It also means warmer air, which leads to ice melting and adding to the water bodies around us. If we're not careful, islands and coastal cities could be underwater by the turn of the century.

Fortunately, research has spoken loudly and the world is trying. With the Paris Agreement, 194 countries have committed to keeping global warming below the 2°C threshold. Although there's been a setback with one of the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases pulling out, at least the rest of us are still on board.

While governments are working, we have to as well. The hard truth about issues affecting humanity as a whole is that they can only be effectively addressed when enough of us come together.

It's not easy to exchange a convenient lifestyle for an inconvenient one, especially when the consequences of climate change probably won't hit in full force during my lifetime.

That doesn't mean I don't try. Each day, I try to take note of how much power I use, consciously save water, avoid non-recyclables and limit my daily waste.

Yet the temptation to yield is there. Sometimes, when I'm out grocery shopping and have forgotten my recyclable bag, it's so inviting to just say yes to plastic bags. I've tried stuffing items into my handbag, but chilled raw chicken isn't something I want jostling around with my phone and lip balm.

That doesn't mean I stop trying. Start with the little changes and make them stick, then move on to bigger ones. Global warming and climate change need to be addressed. The future knocks desperately at our door, asking us do something to save it.

Comments: letters@thesundaily.com