Global warming is not just a disaster around the corner waiting to happen if we don’t halt our carbon emissions. The disaster is already unfolding before us, and throughout the world, millions of people are suffering due to the effects of catastrophic climate change.

Consider some of the human consequences of climate change and global warming in 2016 alone:

Last year, at least 1.3 million people were forced to evacuate their homes due to widespread floods in China. Breaking all rainfall records, these floods destroyed more than 1.5 million hecatres of crops. Studies show that this unprecedented devastation took place because of global warming. [1][2][3][4]

Meanwhile in Louisiana, at least 60,000 homes were damaged and tens of thousands of people were made homeless, in a location which was not considered a "federally-designated flood plain" due to climate denial. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration categorized this as a once-in-1,000-years weather event. [5]

Also - in Madagascar - drought had become so intense that people were eating their seeds rather than planting them because there is nothing else to eat. [6] Elsewhere in Africa, coffee farmers were moving to highlands in an effort to escape climate change, which has contributed to increased diseases and pests and shifts in growing conditions. [7]

Meanwhile, there has been a steadily increasing intensification of the disruption and destruction of our planet’s ecosystem:

The ice caps are melting at an unprecedented rate - faster than ever before. [8][15] In 2016, Greenland's ice melted so early that the previous record was beaten by nearly a month. [9] This is not just a symbol of climate change: sea ice plays a major role in reflecting solar radiation back into space. As sea ice recedes, global warming will accelerate at an even more rapid pace due to this positive feedback loop. [17]

Natural ecosystems are being destroyed at an extremely alarming rate. 90% of the great barrier reef is being destroyed. [10] An unprecedented 66 million trees in California have died since 2010 due to climate change, which also creates a positive feedback loop because trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. [11] Russia, meanwhile, is drastically underreporting the full extent of wildfires therein, which burned several millions hecatres of forest in 2016. [12]

These changes are not going unnoticed. More than half of the world's species are on the move, forced to migrate because of the effects climate change is already having on their habitats. [13] In the last forty years, the global population of animal life has decreased by half. [16] Without major changes, human-caused violence to sea life will devastate ocean ecosystems for millions of years to come. [18]

Temperature-wise, at the end of 2016 we found ourselves having just experienced, for the last 16 months consecutively, the 16 hottest months on record. [19][20] This record-breaking heat is expected to continue if not accelerate, due to positive feedback loops. [21]

In the face of this unprecedented climate disruption, reducing our automobile usage is a must:

These trends will only continue to worsen, as our collective carbon emission rate continues to increase and positive feedback loops are activated, bringing us a catastrophic situation which is increasingly spiraling out of control. And yet, we have the power to bring this process by acting deliberately and collectively to reduce our own carbon emissions.    

Automobile use is one of the greatest contributors to CO2 emissions, responsible for approximately 10% annually worldwide. Meanwhile, American automobiles have a disproportionate impact: the United States has only 5% of the world’s population, yet owns 30% of the world’s automobiles, and contributes 45% of the world’s automotive CO2 emissions.[14]

This means that those of us living in the United States not only have a unique responsibility to reduce our automobile emissions, we are also positioned to have a large impact on a global scale once we come together collectively and do so. This is a must, so that we not only reduce our own carbon footprint, but also are able to build momentum and organizing power to collectively change the course we are headed on.

Thus, in the face of the ongoing catastrophe of global warming, we are asking everyone who reads this to please participate in the now monthly stop driving boycott spearheaded by Blackfeet Elder Zachary RunningWolf on the 11th-14th of every month. Whether that means walking, bicycling, or relying more on trains or buses is up to you – any of these alternatives makes a real difference!

By coming together in this boycott, we will be able to strengthen support for alternative modes of transportation, while undermining the power of the oil & automotive industries which continue to value profit over the present and future health of our children and our planet.