"WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE?"
For starters, share this post with 100 of your friends.
What Can I Do? is the first question people often ask when they realize global warming is happening. I don’t feel like bringing my reusable mug is getting us anywhere!
You’re right. We need vast systemic improvements in CO2 reductions, not one mug at a time. However, small personal actions are helpful. Not only are you doing the right thing, you’re shifting your thinking: now you might realize how to achieve solutions on a larger scale. When you show how easy it is to reduce waste, others will notice. “Personal steps may be small in the scheme of things, but they can raise your own consciousness about the problem — and the awareness of the people around you,” New York Times writer Justin Gillis says. “In fact, discussing this issue with your friends and family is one of the most meaningful things you can do.”
With your head in the game, you’ll notice that major efforts are underway to take individual actions to ambitious scale: cities installing LEDs to save money, or pledging to run on 100% renewable energy; corporate headquarters adjusting the dials on heating/cooling systems to save energy; plant-based meat-alternatives selling out in fast-food restaurants (and attracting Wall Street investors); successful urban composting companies. And who can deny that Tesla makes a spiffy car.
I need a list! Okay, here are 10 actions that almost anyone can take, starting today. Pick your favorite, or come up with your own. Guide people to these actions, show them how you do them, and ask them to join you. A startling number of people say they aren’t active on climate solutions because nobody has invited them to participate!
1. Talk about it. If we’ve talked with a friend about climate change, we’re both more likely to do something about it. Get the conversation going.
2. Become a Trusted Messenger. Who listens to what you say? Who asks for your advice? Use your charm and your clout.
3. Elect people who have a plan, make sure they know you care about this. Mayors, governors, Congress, and the President, of course. Also, the captains and presidents in your daily life: your condo board, school board, golf club, yoga instructor, frat president, neighborhood association head, chair of your alumni network, store manager, organizer of your poker game or book club.
4. Pay attention. Go to meetings with ideas and questions. Dive in: offer to help. Bring a friend with you.
5. Be Calm, Be Clear. Most people don’t know a gigaton from a megawatt. Most people want to know how the climate crisis affects them — and they want to know what they can do about it.
6. Follow reliable mainstream news sources, i.e., those that rely on established scientists and other experts for their reporting.
7. Financial clout. Leverage it. We’re all part of an organization or a community. We all make purchasing choices. Do business with companies that get it. Find out about investment strategies of your employee 401k, medical complex, alma mater, place of worship, baseball team. Make sure your investments incorporate your values. Major funds that have already divested from fossil fuels have all been influenced by stakeholders like you.
8. Find your hook. Do you hate to see food wasted? Are you staggered by adverse health implications of a warming planet? Do plastic bits in our food chain bother you? Could you get behind a plastic bag ban in your town? Find your hook.
9. Social media is powerful. Share with your friends. If you know any celebrities, encourage them to do the same.
10. Vote with your wallet! Find out which brands are serious about reducing emissions and improving health, and buy from them. Everyone from Walmart project gigaton has adopted an ambitious plan. If your favorite products and services seem to be ignoring climate change, let them know. (See #7, Social Media is Powerful.)
11. Lighten up! The great humorists of our era provide wonderful relief. Share a funny clip.