Climate change is quite literally the most pressing issue facing our planet. The human race’s lack of respect and consideration for our Earth has caused the planet in its entirety to warm significantly, causing drastic and sporadic changes to the world’s climate. We as inhabitants of the Earth are now faced with the increasingly urgent issue of cleaning up the mess that we have made in order to preserve our home from irreversible destruction. Action must be immediate and drastic, and it will require all earthly inhabitants to come together and face this crisis in unity. Fortunately, we are in the midst of an era of nearly complete global interconnectivity through globalization. Though not necessarily good or bad overall, globalization is going to be a crucial tool if we are to work together to revive the planet that we all share.
Globalization, according to Manfred B. Steger in his book titled Globalization: A Very Short Introduction, emerged as a buzzword in the 1990s because it described the “increasingly interconnected nature of social life on our planet.” Though it can be defined in a multitude of different ways, globalization is essentially a process that is gradually connecting the entirety of Earth’s population. It can be seen in many forms, such as the nearly immediate spread of information around the world through the internet, the development of a unified global culture, and the cooperation (or conflict) between citizens and leaders of countries.
Globalization, however, is a “contested concept,” and there is no consensus on whether or not it is inherently beneficial or not for our society as a whole (Steger). Though there is no straight answer as to whether globalization is good or bad, it can be said for certain that it benefits society in some ways. Cooperation amongst leaders in our globalized society, for example, could actually be our saving grace in working to reverse the effects of climate change.
There are several international organizations that serve our Earth as a whole, perhaps the most well-known example being the United Nations. Organizations like these exist for purposes that are important to the whole world and include people from many different countries whom all work together for a common earthly cause. There are also large meetings and conferences between leaders of many different countries to discuss issues that impact the whole planet. Just recently, for example, the World Economic Forum held a conference in Davos, Switzerland to discuss the future of globalization, according to Gloria Pallares in her article “5 climate change takeaways from Davos 2019.”
Over 100 governments and 1,000 businesses had representatives attend the forum, where inequality and climate change were the primary topics of discussion. The World Economic Forum published their annual risk report before the meeting took place and it warned of the dangerous road that lies ahead of us if action is not taken to resolve climate change, stating that “Of all risks, it is in relation to the environment that the world is most clearly sleepwalking into catastrophe.” The document determined that the five environmental issues at the top of the list of concerns were extreme weather events, failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, and man-made disasters (Pallares).
Another global organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published a report in October 2018 that highlights the urgency of our planet’s situation, shares Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, in his article titled “Globalization 4.0 will help us tackle climate change. Here’s how.” The special report warns that we only have 12 years to act in order to avoid dangerous, irreversible climate change. Schwab explains that while this seems daunting, it is possible if we use globalization to our advantage.
It will require an unprecedented amount of collaboration between the public and private sectors, as well as large and systemic transformations within industry, technology, and the design of consumer products. In order to succeed in transitioning our global society in a way to prevent dangerous levels of climate change, our “international community,” as Schwab refers to it, must embrace a new agenda for climate action and work together to meet and exceed goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement (Schwab). It is only if our planet in its entirety can work together to make the transition that climate change can be kept under our control. Without globalization as we know it, this would never be possible.
Climate change is the most crucial issue of our time. We are currently standing face to face with the possibility of the total destruction of our planet and it is now our job as people of Earth to work to slow, and hopefully reverse, the damage we have cause to the place we all live. Globalization, which is essentially long-term development of an interconnected, cohesive earthly community, has already contributed to the process of saving our planet through international organizations that address the problem. We now face the daunting task as a globalized society to work together to transition into a more environmentally-conscious populous, and we only have 12 years to do it before irreversible damage has been done. Utilizing the advantages of our global community to implement radical worldwide change is the only way to successfully make this transition. As it turns out, globalization may actually be our biggest tool in the daunting task of saving our world as we know it.