Being a character on Game of Thrones, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau knows a lot about fictional climate change. But the actor, who plays Jaime Lannister, also knows a lot about the real thing: He penned an op-ed for CNN explaining that he's seeing the effects of a warming world firsthand and warns that real change is necessary to save the Earth for future generations.
"My second home is in the similarly ice-rich territory of Greenland. My wife is from Uummannaq in the northwest of Greenland, and my two daughters are half Greenlandic," Coster-Waldau wrote. "In the considerable time I have spent there, I have seen firsthand the devastating effects of rising temperatures on the delicate ecosystem of the world's largest island."
Coster-Waldau notes that Greenland may seem like a faraway place. The island is out of sight and out of mind for many, but since an ice sheet covers 80% of the island nation, he reports that if temps continue to rise, the melting ice would result in a sea level rise of 20 feet across the globe. Water would flood into New York, Miami, and New Orleans, which certainly puts the dangers closer to home.
Working with the United Nations (Coster-Waldau is an ambassador for the U.N. Development Program), the actor is hoping that the world is ready to work together to implement the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals, aka SDGs, which include plans for things you may have heard about before, such as reducing greenhouse gases and carbon emissions, but also throws in a few extras, such as disaster readiness in case the plan doesn't work as planned, and offering clean energy to developing nations.
Coster-Waldau also commends the "1,000 millennial thought leaders from 129 countries" that came together in his native home of Denmark "to come up with innovative solutions that can help achieve the SDGs." Of the 200 ideas that came out of the epic meeting, 12 received funding to come to fruition. The GoT actor sees that as a major step towards creating real change. Involving future generations is important, he says, not only because he wants to see the world safe for his own children, but because bringing young people into the conversation is one way to encourage change and new ideas.
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