Medical professionals “call a code” in the event of a life-threatening emergency. A code requires all emergency personnel to respond immediately to participate in an all out effort to save the patient’s life. To fail to respond would mean certain death for the patient.
As a critical care nurse, I can recognize an emergency situation. I’m well versed in both calling and responding to codes. My quick action has saved a number of lives over the course of my forty-one year career. Now I find that my patient is the Earth and I am “calling a code”.
It’s so obvious that the Earth is in crisis. Immediate action is required from all of us to help correct the problems that have created this life-threatening situation. The Earth’s dire symptoms of climate disruption include increasing CO2 levels, droughts, ocean acidification, mass species extinction, melting polar icecaps, sea level rise and increasingly severe wildfires, tornados, floods and hurricanes. Adding to the Earth’s distress is air, water and land pollution as well as the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster.
When faced with a life-threatening situation, we don’t just stand there—we take immediate action. Why then do we continue business as usual and ignore the Earth’s cries for help? Why will people not take even the simple step of changing a light bulb or taking a cloth bag to the grocery store?
What is the cause of our inertia? What will it take to wake people up to the critical nature of the Earth’s health? As one speaker at the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference said, “People want to live normal lives, they don’t feel responsible for the problem, they’ve not been well led, and they’re generally ignorant of the seriousness of the problem that’s approaching.”
We simply can’t go on like this. There comes a point at which it becomes too late to take corrective action. Then the patient dies. The Earth, our only home, is very close to that point.
To repeat—I am calling a code. Will you respond?