Climate Crisis: Why Should We Panic Now

Editor’s note: Today, actor Keira Knightley has unveiled a short animation film entitled “Climate Crisis and Why We Should Panic Now”. Translated into 14 different languages, it’s the second of a two-part explainer video series for Extinction Rebellion, focusing on the climate and ecological crisis. In this article, we will have a look at evidence of the climate crisis and review the short animation film.

The climate on our planet has been changing over the millions of years, warming up and cooling down, but today the Earth is warming up much faster than before. The reason lies in the abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, like carbon dioxide(CO2) and methane, which trap the heat from Sun in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the planet to warm up and disrupt the climate.

Today the Earth warms up faster, the ocean rises up and absorbs more heat to disrupt marine life, Arctic ice melts more quickly, and more extreme natural disasters happen. 

Carbon Dioxide

CO2 or Carbon Dioxide is a vital greenhouse gas that helps trap heat from the Sun in the Earth’s atmosphere, not letting the Earth be inhospitable and cold. However, the increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere leads to global warming and disrupts the planet’s climate. CO2 is released through natural processes like volcanic eruptions, forest fires, organism respiration, and decomposition. In addition to that, human activity brings more carbon dioxide through fossil fuel burning, cement production, and deforestation.

Since the Industrial Revolution (in the mid-1700s), the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by 35%80% of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has come from CO2 emission from burning fossil fuels and 20% from deforestation and agricultural practices. The current concentration of CO2 (for the 2020 year) is 414 ppm (concentration in parts per million), higher than the average amount of carbon dioxide before the Industrial Revolution (280ppm). 

Evidence of Climate Crisis:

Global Temperature Rise. One of the evidence and signs of climate change is the increase in the planet’s average surface temperature.  Since the late 19th century, the planet’s temperature has risen. According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the temperature Anomaly has been crossing its borderline of 0.5 °C since 2001 (exception of 1998 with 0.61 °C ), reaching 0.99 °C  in 2019. 

Ocean Warming. The ocean plays a vital role in supporting life on the planet. It absorbs energy, heat and distributes it evenly around the planet, and the ocean also absorbs carbon dioxide.  Due to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the ocean absorbs more heat than usual, which leads to the rise of the ocean temperature and jeopardizes marine life and ecosystems. The top 700 meters (2300 feet) of the ocean shows the warming of more than 0.4 degrees F since 1969.

Sea Level Rise. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has been observing from satellites the sea level since 1993. From 1993 to 2000, the global sea level rose about 8 inches (20cm). Since then the rate has nearly doubled, and it is accelerating slightly every year. The latest measurement of the sea level is 94 (± 4) mm for March 2020( in comparison with 22.2 (± 4) mm for March 2000)

Arctic Sea Ice. Throughout 1979 to the present time, the Arctic Sea Ice’s extent and thickness have been declining rapidly. According to NASA’s satellite observations, each September Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum. The rate for September Arctic sea ice declines by 12.85% per decade. 

As we can see, the climate changes rapidly, bringing uncertainty and concerns for the next generation’s future. More and more climate change activists, philanthropists, and non-profit organizations started a climate change movement with a mission to bring awareness about the environmental crisis to the public and encourage to act upon the crisis. One of the global climate change movement is the Extinction Rebellion.  

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Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a global, decentralized, international, and politically non-partisan movement, which focuses on the climate and ecological crisis, founded in 2018, in the UK, by Roger Hallam, Gail Bradbrook and other activists from the campaign group Rising Up. 

The Extinction Rebellion has strong values and principles and uses non-violent actions and non-violent civil disobedience to persuade governments to acknowledge and act justly on the Climate Emergency. The upcoming Rebellion will take place on the 1st of September 2020.

Extinction Rebellion demands that the government accept and declare the climate and ecological emergency mode, act now to stop biodiversity loss, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create and be led by a Citizen Assembly’s decisions on climate and ecological justice. 

Short animated explainer video series

Extinction Rebellion already makes a difference with over 1138 groups in 69 countries. It earned a reputation for compelling legislation, pushing the government to act justly on the climate and ecological crisis, using artful, creative, and non-violent protests all over the world. 

One of the creative and non-violent ways is creating short animated explainer video series, consisting of two parts: “Extinction Emergency, and Why We Must Act Now” and “Climate Crisis, and Why We Should Panic.” 

The first part of the series is “Extinction Emergency, and Why We Must Act Now,” produced by Selena Schellenberg, voiced by Naomi Harris, accompanied by the music of Brian Eno and Simon Bass. The animated video highlights the consequences of human activity and summarizes the diversity loss on the planet, runaway consumerism, and ecological crisis.

The second part of the series, that you can watch below is “Climate Crisis, and Why We Should Panic,” produced by Selena Schellenberg, voiced by Keira Knightley, with the music of Simon Bass. The video explains the cause of climate change, why governments must act to tackle the emotional crisis and enter the crisis mode, and what will happen if nothing is done about it. The movie is translated into 14 different languages. 

Quotes from the members of the team of the “Climate Crisis, and Why We Should Panic

Serena Schellenberg, Producer:

The film ends with the poignant line ‘Let’s choose a different path right now, so we can leave a world worth living into our children’, and as Keira is known for her compassion for the environment as well being a young mother, she was the perfect fit. Known the world over, we felt very lucky that she immediately said “yes”. The beautiful way that she narrates the film with both despair and hope is very compelling.”

Keira Knightley Voice-over:

“I wanted to speak out in support of Extinction Rebellion. Lending my voice to the most urgent issue of our time felt like the right way for me to take a stand in the hope that we can leave a world worth living in for our children. Climate change and the ecological crisis are 2 sides of the same problem. This animation explains the climate change aspect in a no-nonsense way – though the message is horrifying to hear”

Miritte Ben Yitzchak Direction, Design, and Animations a British motion graphics animator and graphic designer. She is passionate about social and environmental projects.

 “I used to think of the climate and ecological crisis as an issue that needed addressing, but it was only with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report published in October 2018 that I realized we were running out of time to prevent a catastrophe that will have devastating consequences to the lives of millions of people. As a parent, you do everything you can to keep your child safe – you teach her how to cross the road and not to play with fire – and here we are, and the world is burning. I was suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of hopelessness, mixed with guilt about the world I was leaving to my young daughter and her generation.

This motivated me to use my creative toolbox to raise awareness, and help empower and mobilize people to take action through short animated films that would explain in simple words where we are today, and what will happen if we don’t do something about it. My feelings are evidently shared by many people, as demonstrated by the fast growth and following of movements such as the Extinction Rebellion and the Youth Climate Movement. I can only hope that governments will start listening and act to combat the climate and ecological crisis.”

All the images featured in this article are from the movie, “Climate Crisis and Why We Should Panic Now”

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own, not those of

About the Author /

Anna Durbanova, a graduate Master student in Management, is passionate about a wide range of topics: photography, art, travel, lifestyles, start-ups, technology,ecological and sustainable design.

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