The State of Our Planet in 3 Minutes with Lindsey Coffey
Lindsey Coffey is a model and environmental activist. With a background in Political Science that focused on government, public policy, and political behavior, Coffey turned her public platform into a place of environmental awareness and green solutions. Today we sat down with Coffey and discussed the environmental issues we face today and the steps we must take moving forward.
What has the pandemic taught us when it comes to the environment?
The silver lining with COVID-19 is the positive impact on the environment. The severity of humanity’s actions were revealed showing how destructive we are to the planet. When the world shut down and everyone stayed indoors we saw improvements worldwide. From Lebanon to Los Angeles the amount of air pollution decreased drastically where the difference was visible outside of our windows.
It also showed what we can accomplish from home. Productivity is not based on movement and constantly being “on the go”. From home you can work, speak with your doctor, and exercise. The pandemic pushed boundaries and encouraged us to think outside of the box in order to maintain a productive, meaningful, and purposeful life without sacrificing the health of the planet.
What are the main environmental issues we are facing today?
When it comes to climate action there are many steps we need to take. Some of the greatest environmental threats today are biodiversity loss, water, land, and air pollution, global warming, and the water crisis. Many fail to realize the connection between these issues and our livelihood. The water crisis alone leads to economic decline and regional instability while threatening the existence of humanity. If we do not focus on ocean conservation, water scarcity, and droughts, life as we know it will cease to exist.
Everything on this planet is interconnected. For example, the chemicals and toxic waste we dump into our oceans disrupt and destroy ecosystems affecting aquatic life and our food source. This also leads to a rise in carbonic acid which is then vaporized and stored in our clouds turning into acidic rain watering our crops. Everything comes full circle, however; our day-to-day lives are incredibly detached from the reality of the natural world that we fail to see the connection.
How can the country move forward?
The true solution to the climate crisis lies within our legislative branch. Through legislative reform and new policy-making, we can help lower emissions, cut pollution and toxic waste, and protect our biodiversity. It is critical to vote for a politician with an environmental agenda that will hold our nation accountable within our own country and abroad. Internationally, the US must lead by example and support the Paris Agreement and Kyoto Protocol while encouraging worldwide green recovery after the pandemic.
We have heard the term green recovery often, can you tell us about that and what is standing in our way of achieving green recovery?
Green recovery is how we choose to stimulate the economy in a way that benefits the planet. After the 2008 financial crisis the economy was stimulated through fossil fuels, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and creating health risks between people and all other species. As America reopens it is critical to stimulate our economy through renewable energy and investment in green tech. Climate economics show how sustainable measures boosts the economy as our environment dictates how our economy thrives. This is why addressing the global water crisis is so important. When our aquatic species and coral reefs go extinct it will affect food security increasing global food costs. When we face more droughts and water scarcity we will see forced migration and overpopulation in already overpopulated areas collapsing the economy due to supply and demand. I also wouldn’t be surprised seeing an influx in respiratory and heat-borne illness adding increased hardships physically and financially on our medical institutions and people, as nine out of ten people are breathing polluted air causing 7 million premature deaths each year.
What does the future look like if we do not act?
We are one degree away from a serious shift in our atmosphere causing droughts, heatwaves, famine, a decrease in our already limited water supply, entire ecosystems will collapse, and a third of all life on Earth will face extinction. We will experience a more catastrophic climate increasing the duration and intensity of floods, hurricanes, tornados, and wildfires. Our economy and society will collapse forcing us to live in a constant state of survival, turning our basic rights of food, water, shelter, and medicines into luxuries. It will be complete chaos.
How can we help?
Voting for a candidate that is pro-environment is the most helpful action. Also, push your city council for more regulations to “green-ify” your community and your workplace by switching your town, business, and home to renewable energy. In your day-to-day life, live mindfully supporting eco-friendly business and making energy efficient purchases. Prioritize your time to sign petitions, partake in town hall meetings and write letters to your city and state officials. There are online resources that have letters pre-written with the option of personalizing it, all you have to do is fill in your information and hit send. Lastly, constantly challenge yourself to stay updated on worldwide environmental events to expand your knowledge and perspective of the climate crisis while educating others as solving the climate crisis takes collective action within your country and between nations.