A minute to midnight

Scorching heat drying out our lakes and ponds. Heavy storms flooding our streets, gardens, and houses. The changing climate is coming closer and closer to home. It is no longer ‘only’ about melting ice caps thousands of kilometers away. And the disasters that climate change is fueling are beginning to hit us all. What can we do to prevent these (un)natural disasters? Is it even possible to at least reduce the risks? Or are we all utterly and completely screwed?

‘Five, four, three, two, one, we have lift off…!’ The crowd cheers as the rocket thunders towards the sky. With less than a minute to midnight on the ‘global disaster clock’, the rocket and its contents are meant to save us all. It will release sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere, blocking the sunlight. If this fails, there is always the option of deflecting sunlight away from Earth using space-based mirrors or other technologies to artificially cool the planet.

Sounds like a solid plan, right? ‘It is not a sustainable solution but if we are near the edge of the runaway climate effect, it could be a desperate last-minute resort. But that is just what it is: a desperate solution,’ warns Maarten van Aalst, professor of Spatial Resilience for Disasters Risk Reduction at the ITC faculty. Is there another way? Is there a better way to protect ourselves against the risks that we are creating and consequently facing?.

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