A Last Thought from Charlton Shackleton
Executive Director of the Shackleton Research Trust
I want to start this last thought by welcoming my son Zayn into the world. As I begin my journey under the mantle of fatherhood, I cannot help but consider the legacy that I/ we will leave the next generation. 2021 was a year of new milestones, many of which had negative impacts: massive forest fires, devastating flooding, unseasonable tornadoes and unprecedented volcanic and tropical cyclone activity all in the midst of a global pandemic. Each year seems to bring new monikers of the deadliest, hottest, costliest etcetera and at the current pace of change it is unlikely that my son will experience the natural wonders of our world as I have without a change in course and mindset. While all of these disasters may not have been caused by climate change, their impacts have certainly been exacerbated by its presence. In the midst of it all, it has been encouraging to witness what appears to be a renewed sense of shared commitment and dialogue around the issues of climate change and resilience.
As a global citizen, I appreciate the work of those involved in the Conference of Parties (COP) 26 summit to create a framework to limit global temperature rise. However, this is just a start as there is much more work to be done in order to change our present climate course. It is imperative that we as a global society engage every nation in an inclusive and collaborative manner to participate in binding agreements based on the best scientific data available. We already know that how we live has contributed negatively to our climate's health, but the full story has not yet been written. We as a society and individually have the ability to mitigate the effects of climate change by working together to create a legacy for tomorrow.
“Just when things looked their worst, they changed for the best. I have marveled often at the thin line that divides success from failure and the sudden turn that leads from apparently certain disaster to comparative safety.”
- Ernest Shackleton