We - you, me and everyone else reading this - are the heroes who stopped climate change. We saved the lives of millions of people. We prevented the extinction of thousands of species. We halted the acidification of the oceans and the collapse of global fish stocks, averting immense suffering. Thanks to us, wars that would have been fought over water never occurred. Thanks to us, the lives of every one of the billions of humans on this fragile and beautiful planet are better than they otherwise would have been. We are heroes.
It was not an easy battle. It cost money - large amounts of money. All of us sacrificed something. Our lifestyles altered. Our choices narrowed. Our lives were by some measures worse than they would have otherwise been. But we did this to make the lives of future generations better than they would have otherwise been; we gave up choices to allow our children more choices. And the alterations to our lifestyles, while difficult in the transition, became for us badges of honour and hope. We are heroes.
We made difficult political and personal decisions. We had the courage to research, refine and adopt nuclear power, overcoming our reservations in the face of the huge dangers that climate change presented. We had the vision to support the creation of solar and wind energy systems to run electric vehicles, moving completely away from fossil fuels - with which transport had seemed axiomatically and inextricably intertwined - in the course of a few short decades. We - sometimes reluctantly; sometimes disgruntledly - changed our eating habits. And came to realise that there were health benefits for us as well as for the planet. We are heroes.
Many things stood in our way; sometimes we stood in our own way. There were those who opposed us out of self-interest and those who opposed us out of honest disbelief. There were those who labelled us dupes or liars or simply wrong. And we were wrong on some things. We made mistakes. But we overcame. Our words were listened to and our deeds spoke for themselves. We are heroes.
As you look around today and see the world that we created, you will notice that it is not perfect; that it is not in all ways the way that you want it to be. But while there is still suffering, corruption, famine, conflict, disease, destruction - still many challenges to be overcome - there is far less of it thanks to you and I; thanks to all of us. Be proud. We are heroes.
note: this is an idea that I have for motivating people to take action on climate change