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Dreaming of a white Christmas

- By Dina Vanhassel, Student at Vraa Folk High School

When I was young my mother used to take me to school in December with a sleigh. It would always be my highlight of the month. With my little brother in front of me and my mother pulling us forward, I remember it like it was yesterday. We used to have a white Christmas at home in Leuven, Belgium, but the last time we had that was in 2010. That is 12 years ago, even though it has been that long, I still dream of a white Christmas every year.

And I know I am probably not going to get a white Christmas, because of the climate change. The snow has been decreasing all over Europe since 1980. It is affecting our climate systems and ecosystems. And today the snow and the glazers are melting, meaning that sea levels are rising. This can cause increased storm surges, flooding, and damage. The same is with the global warming which in the last decades the contrary has been increasing. The rising temperature is caused by the release of greenhouse gases from our activities.

The EU tried to do something about this something with cop 27, when they agreed on the decision to establish and operationalize a loss and damage fund, for the more vulnerable nations affected by climate change. It is a start to finally do something about the 1.5°C. Frans Timmermans, the First Vice president of the European Commission from The Netherlands, didn’t live up to his expectations of giving us hope. He may look like Santa but isn’t going to give us our merry white Christmas. It took a long time for him to finally agree to establish a loss and damage fund. It means that when there are climate-related disasters in poorer countries, they will assist with a finance needed for rescue and reconstruction. But we are not achieving what we could achieve, we must think about the Paris agreement because that is where we can get a white Christmas back.

Cop was invented for dealing with climate change and for countries to legally reduce their greenhouse gases. The greenhouse gases are mostly all natural, but because of the industrial revolutions, it became too much for the earth to take. Without it the temperature would fall to around a -18°C, too cold to sustain life. Scientists agree that they are the cause of climate change and global warming. The most important solution is the Paris agreement from 2016. If we can get to the 1.5°C, then maybe we will get our white Christmases back. We still have 8 years, until 2030 to try to fix it and I think we can do this.

Because they are starting to do something about it and it is a start, but still not enough. Everybody could just do something for the planet, it doesn’t have to be big. Maybe recycle; reuse and reduce more, use less heat, ride the bus or carpool, buy more local stuff, protecting our forests and so much more. And I am still hoping that maybe I will get a chance to celebrate a white Christmas when I am older.

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