The ground is baked, marbled by deep cracks and dusty earth. Brittle bugs lie rigid, literally cooked by the scorching sunshine.
Plants droop their cumbersome heads, not even containing sufficient energy to rouse themselves when they feel the throb of pollinators humming through the heady air.
As I write, much of the world is gripped by a sweltering heat wave, with Britain being so dry that we have experienced Indonesia-style raging peat fires. Montreal recently reached its highest temperature ever, with the deaths of 33 people in Quebec attributed to the scorching heat. The town of Quriyat in Oman never went below a frightening 42.6C for a full 24 hours in June, almost certainly a global record.
'But it's Summer,' people say in an attempt to justify this extreme bout of sizzling sunshine. However, these temperatures are not just a coincidence, they're an ominous trend which we all need to prepare for unless we take action now.
From a young age, I’ve always loved animals. This has blossomed into a wonderment and love of the diversity of creatures on Earth. Climate change is having such adverse affects on so many species, we can no longer sit back and watch as our race walks obliviously into this mass extinction which we won’t be able to return from. (Orangutans are being affected by forest fires, amphibians are impacted by temperature change and polar bears by ice melt. In fact, every species on earth is being, or will be affected by climate change somehow.) Fortunately, it’s not too late at the moment. We can still take a stand against climate change.
That's why I, along with several other teens, am currently organising a march that will take place in London (starting at 11am in Euston Square) on July 21st. 'It will be a national day of mass action, led by youth - an ideal platform to ensure that young voices are not only centered in this conversation, but that politicians and adults will hear our voices loud and clear! The mission of the Zero Hour movement is to center the voices of diverse youth in the conversation around climate and environmental justice. Zero Hour is a youth-led movement creating entry points, training, and resources for new young activists and organizers (and adults who support our vision) wanting to take concrete action around climate change. Together, we are a movement of unstoppable youth organizing to protect our rights and access to the natural resources and a clean, safe, and healthy environment that will ensure a livable future where we not just survive, but flourish.'
The effects of climate change are increasing exponentially, that's why we're trying to create a sense of national urgency and start that conversation in playgrounds, around the dinner table and with friends. We want an epiphany, a revelation around climate change. Just like Blue Planet galvanised people into action regarding plastic, This is Zero Hour needs to prime people to fight for the planet. If it doesn't work this year, we'll go at it again and again until every creature (humans included) possesses a basic right - clean air, fresh water and a safe future.
Jane Goodall says that 'the greatest danger to our future is apathy'. Chris Packham urges us to 'listen to ecologist, not economist.'
If we merge these two quotes and follow them assiduously, we will have a mass mobilisation of passionate change-makers fighting for our planet. This is all it takes to effect change.
This IS Zero Hour, yet time is not up yet. The clock is ticking, but perhaps if we all unite in the realisation that we share a common goal, then maybe, just maybe, we can reverse this horrifying trend.