Human activities have caused global mean temperatures to rise roughly by 1 degree Celcius since the start of the industrial era some 150 years ago. With the current rate of global warming, we will reach 1.5°C warming within the next couple of decades and 2°C a bit later. 1 or 2 degrees Celsius doesn’t sound like much, but it will cause major changes to global weather systems, affecting all life, plants, animals and humans alike. Changing ecosystems, droughts, extreme weather phenomena and sea level rise will cause species loss and extinction. Global climate change will literally affect all life on Earth. Examples of visible changes in our surroundings can be found for instance at NASA’s Global Climate Change site: https://climate.nasa.gov/. If we manage to stop the increase in temperatures and keep the change below 1.5°C, many of the negative effects and associated risks can be prevented.
Though we are late in reacting to the change, it is still not too late. But we need to move from words to actions, and start making better choices. It is true that the majority of emissions are caused by industries that normal people have very little direct control over, but we do still have collective power. In the capitalist societies (practically all societies, arguably even China), business decisions are based on finances, and one way for normal people to affect the decisions of companies and producers is to make conscious decisions on how we spend our money. If companies that pollute the air, ground and water do not have customers buying their products, they are quickly out of business. This way you can also have the power to create change. Collectively, our everyday decisions of what we buy, eat, wear, use and consume will guide businesses. And if we start making conscious decisions on choosing more sustainable options, change for the better will follow.
(Source for data: IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, Summary for policymakers, 2018. Available at: https://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf)