Over the past few weeks we have witnessed Mother Nature’s fury as Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas bringing flooding and other devastation to Houston and the surrounding area. Just days later, Irma destroyed entire islands in the Caribbean and almost as soon as one Irma departed the area, Puerto Rico and others were thrown into apocalyptic conditions by Maria. At the same time, fires ravaged the south eastern and then the western United States and Canada where so far this year over eight million acres of land have burned in what has been described as one of the worst fire seasons ever witnessed.[1] Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, monsoons displaced and killed thousands of people in Southeast Asia.

The change in the weather patterns is now a global crisis; this is not the responsibility of one country, or one person. This is a call to action by Mother Earth, demanding we make changes for the better sooner rather than later – or await her fury in the next season.

The main reason the fire season has become so drastic is due in large part to the severe drought that has plagued the western states over much of the past decade. Water table levels are at an historic low, lakes and rivers gasping for moisture. While some still want to believe that climate change is simply that – the climate changing – and that humans have little to no impact on it, a majority of studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals point to overwhelming evidence that climate change and the horrific natural disasters we are experiencing around the world are completely due to human activity.[2]

As individuals, we can all take action by recycling, riding a bike instead of a car to work, carpooling or using public transport, and supporting businesses that are trying to be more environmentally-friendly; those that are focusing on sustainability-related activities. But there is even more that can be done. The Paris Agreement is one first step in what I hope will be many, for governments around the world pledging to work with one another as well as with civil society and business to implement regulations that have meaningful long-term impact and that slow the rise of global warming and its negative consequences.

A new study published in the UK[3] recently explained that while the climate change on the whole may be slowing, the impacts are still as severe and we must continue to alter our behaviour if we are to alter the outcome of environmentally-related disasters.

Each of us has a role to play in slowing or stopping climate change, whether at home or on a larger scale; it’s not just how governments react and work together along with business and civil society or how they can incentivise each of us as individuals. There is space for each of us to take action; to be better educated about what is happening to the planet around us and the decisions we make each day that impacts the space where we work, live and play. The natural disasters we witnessed throughout September should be a warning to each of us. By reducing our own footprint, perhaps we can reduce the ravaging storms that have devastated our planet and the livelihoods of millions.

[1] Loria, Kevin; Business Insider, September 14, 2017

[2] Climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

[3] Millar, Richard; Emission budgets and pathways consistent with

limiting warming to 1.5◦C Nature Geoscience, September 18, 2017