Climate change is one of the world’s most urgent challenges and an immediate risk to our communities, economies, and to our way of living.


JOIN OUR BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEMBER KATHLEEN HEBERT & HER BY-THE-NUMBERS LOOK AT CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGHOUT WASHINGTON AND AROUND THE WORLD, BELOW.

2 Twin Girls

I am often humbled by their innate love of nature and science.  Since they were young, we’ve take an annual pilgrimage to Friday Harbor, where my husband and I got married, which has a rich marine ecosystem. 

The shoreline is thick with sea stars, sea anemones, scallops, sea squirts and more.  The girls spend hours tide pooling and capturing nudibranchs.

I became inspired and applied for 2015 Northwest Conservation Fellowship.  It’s an intense experience that covers everything from the history of the environmental movement to field visits in order to immerse ourselves in current methodology and efforts.  

Through the fellowship, I dove deep into climate change and sustainable cities and was exposed to numbers that paint a stark picture, many of these may be familiar to you:


12,000 years ago

Our ancestors figured out they could control the growth and breeding of certain animals and plants.  This advancement transformed earth’s natural landscapes first locally, then globally.  But now, humans have been so successful we have inadvertently created a turning point in the history of the earth.  

800 million years ago

The last time the earth experienced our current level of CO2 in the atmosphere of 400 parts per million.

 


 

825 gigatons

Is what is remaining of our CO2 “budget” before we cross the 2 degree Celsius mark, the point that many believe climate changes move from manageable to catastrophic.  At our current rates of 36 gigatons/year, we have less than 20 years before we reach that mark.

+15%

The increase in destructiveness of storms by 2050 due to climate change.

2/3

Two-thirds of the global population will experience regular water shortages by 2050, due to a combination of climate change pressures and increasing population.

 -20% 

The reduction in annual yield of corn and wheat by 2050 due to climate change.

30%

Thirty percent of species are currently at risk of extinction; interestingly, ¼ of these at-risk species are found in urban areas.

1.2 inches

The level of sea level rise in the last decade, half from melting of ice and half from expansion due to rising ocean temperatures.  We can anticipate at least a 3 to 4 feet rise by the year 2100 as the melt accelerates (although this could be as much as 9 meters if the Greenland icesheet were to give way).  At 3 feet, 100 million people will be displaced.

3 Degrees Celsius

How much warmer “the blob” of ocean off the coast of Washington is compared to normal.  If it continues, Chinook salmon are at risk of extinction in the Pacific Northwest.

 

30% 

The ocean is 30% more acidic than it was 150 years ago, largely due to CO2 absorption in the last three decades.  When we reach 40%, coral stops growing.

$44 Trillion  

The estimated cost of reversing devastation to landscapes and resources that turns out are critical to human life.  We are at a point where inaction is more financially costly than action.


-0.6%

The acceleration of CO2 emissions in 2015.

This year marks a momentous step: the acceleration of CO2 emissions has stopped.  At the same time, the world economy grew at 2.5%.  The nay-sayers who said we couldn’t accomplish the twin goals of economic growth and protecting the earth are wrong.

It's who we are and how we work that has made the Conservancy so successful — and makes us optimistic that we can expand that great conservation work to meet the challenges ahead:

Everything we do is rooted in good science — aided by our hundreds of staff scientists. 

We pursue non-confrontational, pragmatic solutions to conservation challenges.

We partner with indigenous communities, businesses, governments, multilateral institutions, and other non-profits. 

We have the support of more than 1 million members who enable us to continue working on a scale that matters and implement solutions that endure. 

THE CONSERVANCY HAS A HISTORY OF SUCCEEDING AT DOING HARD THINGS AND ENLISTING THE PARTNERS THAT SECURE LASTING CHANGE.