Earth has a deadline.
In September, the Metronome Clock in Manhattan, which usually tells the current time, was replaced temporarily with a new type of clock: the Climate Clock.
Installed by Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd for Climate Week, it provides a visual reminder of the dire state of our environmental crisis by depicting the time remaining in which we are able to avert a climate catastrophe. When it was first posted, it read: 7 years, 103 days, 15 hours, 40 minutes and 7 seconds.
The installation counts down to the time that we have left to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions enough to ensure a 67% chance of not surpassing an increase in global warming by 1.5 ºC.
Why 1.5 ºC?
Scientists say that limiting the planet’s warming to 1.5 ºC (since preindustrial times) is crucial to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, which include wildfires, extreme weather events, and sea level rise. A report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018 said that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, it is likely that the Earth will warm by 1.5 ºC between 2030 and 2052. This warming is predicted to cause $54 trillion in damage.
Who decided the time specifically?
The 7 years and 94 days (as of Monday, Sept 28th) are based on research done by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change.
The designers Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd created a website, Climate Clock, to explain the project and the science behind it.
A Case For (Cautious) Optimism
Next to the ominous numbers projecting what can feel like inevitable doom, a more optimistic number is projected in green: the percent of the world’s energy that comes from renewable sources. Currently standing at 27%, the ever-increasing tick in percent provides cause for cautious optimism.
What can you do?
Vote vote vote! We cannot emphasize this enough. If you are an eligible voter, make sure that you are registered to vote and are participating in the election
Voting is one of the easiest and most impactful ways to communicate the importance of addressing the climate crisis to local and national politicians
And don’t stop there! The more you make your voice heard, the more likely there will be change from the government. So be sure to sign petitions, phone bank, attend town halls, and protest!
And a few easy tips to reduce your ecological footprint:
Eat a more plant-based diet and locally when possible
Use power strips and turn them off when you’re not using them: this helps minimize vampire energy being consistently used
Turn off your computer nightly to reduce the amount it needs to be charged
Only run full loads on laundry (and try to run them during non-peak hours of energy use)
Run the AC sparingly
Limit hot water usage
Buy vintage or second-hand clothing and home decor
The Bottom Line: Vote like the world depends on it, because it does.