Each Wednesday, One Earth will be featuring a webinar recap from organizations and scientists around the world that focus on important topics such as biodiversity, conservation, food justice, and the intersections of environmental and human health.
This celebrity packed virtual event was hosted by Arctic Basecamp, an organization calling for action from global leaders to address risks from Arctic change. Over the course of five hours, our hosts Rainn Wilson and Parisa Fitz-Henley, both actors and activists, talk with scientists, leaders in business, and other creatives on why the Arctic is so important and what we can do to “make it cool again”.
As a self-titled “science jam”, the conversation begins with the facts at hand. The Arctic plays a vital role in the functioning of our atmosphere as sea ice reflects most of the sun’s energy back out to space. However, as the ice continues to melt due to global temperature increases, the ocean absorbs the heat and the earth warms even faster. Greenland is a prime example of this; it houses one of the world’s largest ice sheets that is contributing to almost half of all global sea rise as it melts. Permafrost is another factor as this historically frozen carbon rich soil is thawing and releasing more carbon into the atmosphere. On a scale of one to ten, all the climate scientists interviewed rank their worry at a ten, or the most concerned. Dr. Alun Hubbard from Aberystwyth University proclaims an eleven.
With this level of urgency, Marc Benioff, Founder & CEO of Salesforce, along with representatives from other notable companies like Signify and IKEA, explain what the business sector is doing to combat this crisis. Step one is to reduce emissions to net zero and become a company that is entirely run on sustainable resources. The second step is to help sequester excess greenhouse gases. Benioff’s company is focused on the Earth’s best natural carbon absorber: the tree. More than six trillion trees used to cover the planet, and only half of them remain. Replanting programs, especially those in warm rainforests, are key in keeping the Arctic cool. Whichever climate action a company decides to take Benioff poses just one question to them,
The dialogue then shifts to what can be done in the average household. As our hosts like to say, “every home is a basecamp." Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott show how energy can be saved within a structure with more efficient doors, windows, LED light bulbs, solar panels, and how having devices like your thermostat available on your phone can eliminate use. Grammy-winning musicians Billie Eilish and Finneas speak about how one can change their diet. “Progress over totality” is their message, “if you can’t give up chicken, then be a vegan who eats chicken.” Dr. Katherine Hayhoe from Science Moms encourages those who know about climate change to speak up even if they don’t have all the facts on hand, “begin by talking about a value you have in common and start the conversation from there.” Earth Song rapper Lil Dicky confirms this notion that everyone has a part to play. He asks all those watching to use their platforms, no matter how small. He says, “I believe in the human spirit…when push comes to shove people choose good.”
With so many artists, researchers, and industrialists a part of this conversation, the overall sentiment is that the Arctic can be cool again, but only if we act now.