5 Climate Actions You Can Do From Home Right Now
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
Follow the Advice of Two Top Climate Experts to Shift Your Thinking (Part Two)
If, like me, you’ve been wondering how to take climate action when your daily life is constrained by the pandemic, take heart. We can still engage in making a difference from home, particularly by shifting our thinking. We need to change ourselves and how we interact with the world as much as we need to change how we do things.
As Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac (architects of the 2015 Paris Agreement) say in their book, The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis, “Who we are and how we show up in the world defines how we work with others, how we interact with our surroundings, and ultimately the future we co-create.”
Now, when you have more time at home, is a perfect time to explore some shifts in your thinking. Figueres and Rivett-Carnac provide some advice on how to go about doing that in the remaining five climate actions they outline. (If you’d like to learn about the other five climate actions outlined in their book, check out my last blog post, Five Climate Actions You Can Take Right Now in the World).
Five Actions to Support Your Climate Engagement
1. Face your Grief but Hold a Vision of the Future.
A sense of loss and grief surround us right now. The effects of Covid-19, racism, the recession, loss of biodiversity, and the possibility that our children will live more impoverished lives because of climate change, can be a lot to carry. Bear witness to what is happening and allow yourself to feel the full force of grief in your body. Then, look to the future and what you can still help create. Meet this moment with energy and commitment. Hold on to your vision while remaining flexible and adaptable about the way to get there.
Start with why. Remember why you feel the future is worth fighting for. Draw on this for inspiration for taking climate action, no matter what.
Imagination is essential. Think big. Ideologies and ways of organizing this world can seem very ingrained, but they can change more easily than you think. Repeatedly societies have turned seeming fantasies into realities when circumstances require something new.
Keep your eyes on what’s to come. No matter how much we progress, we will see some deterioration in our environment and our society. Stay firmly fixed to a vision of a world you know is possible. Believe that the world is worth saving and a regenerative future is possible.
2. See Yourself as a Citizen not a Consumer.
Consumption is embedded in our modern psyche and is essential to our growth-based economic system. Companies spend a lot of money to make sure we stay in the consumption cycle. However, if we can remember the most important things are not things, and learn to live a sufficient life of having enough, then we can avoid the forces that feed a consumption mindset. “(W)ith a different approach to life, our capacity for happiness will increase and that our drain on the planet will dramatically slow down.”
Reclaim your idea of a good life. Develop the mental discipline to resist the ever-present pull to buy more. Instead, use your money for meaningful experiences or to support a cause you believe in. Instead of focusing on the quantity of products you can consume, value quality of life for all Earth’s ecosystems.
Become a better consumer. Spend a bit more money for high-quality products that will last a long time. Make more educated decisions about the products you need to buy. Buy from companies that show they are contributing to a greener world. Eliminate waste. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Dematerialize. Less can be more. Use technology to reduce the number of products you consume while still receiving services, like streaming music instead of buying CDs. Take part in the sharing economy. Shift from being an owner of things to a steward of the earth.
3. Defend the truth.
In our ‘post-truth’ social media driven world, we all have an urgent responsibility to recognize and defend attacks on the science and truth of the climate crisis. We need to protect the small window of opportunity to turn back the tide on climate before we lose it. We will succeed by applying a critical approach to information that shapes our ideas, opinions and actions, and by calling out falsehoods that may affect climate action.
Free your mind. You are responsible for what you choose to believe in a post-truth world. Consciously reflect on what you believe and question whether you are choosing to pay attention only to information that doesn’t challenge your position. Engage in ways of thinking you are unused to. Get good at it.
Learn to distinguish between genuine science and pseudoscience. Attempt to determine whether you are basing your opinions on fact or fiction. Check where your information comes from. Determine the source of funding for the research in question. See if an established university or another well-known academic body has verified the research. See if the study was peer reviewed.
Don’t give up on climate deniers. Facts aren’t enough to change the mind of a climate denier. If you reach them, it will be because you sincerely listened to them and strove to understand their concerns. By giving care, love, and attention to every individual, we can counter the forces pulling us apart.
4. Let Go of the Old World.
We all find change difficult. We tend to cling to what we know and resist what is new, even if it brings enormous benefits. Here’s what you can do to let go of the old world:
Focus on where you are going, not where you’ve been. Cultivate a constructive vision for the future and hold on to it, come what may. When you know where you are going, you’re not afraid of losing your grip on the past.
Build resilience to nostalgia. Instead of trying to recreate the past, recognize the temporary nature of life and practice nonattachment to what was, and is.
Burst out of your bubble. Get offline and get to know your neighbors and others in your community safely. Share your hopes and fears, listen to others, and be honest and respectful.
5. Use Technology Responsibly.
Emerging new technologies have enormous potential for delivering emissions reductions. For instance, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is speeding up decarbonization in energy grids, stopping leaks of methane, enhancing battery storage, optimizing freight efficiency, and reducing energy use in buildings. We must embrace technological solutions rapidly and carefully, while also not relying on them as silver bullets. We also must insist that our governments manage technology with an eye towards equality of use, maintaining jobs and social stability, and developing a global approach. Finally, we need to use technology responsibly in our own lives.
Give yourself a vacation from technology. Put your phone down, turn off your computer and TV, and other screens for a few hours each day. Or take a tech-free day once a month. Connect with neighbors (safely), get out in nature, look at the stars at night.
Find out if your government, your local community, or the company you work for is investing in AI and what they are using it for. Take responsibility for pressuring them to take part in the international efforts already taking place to put policies in place that ensure that AI will support a regenerative future.
Encourage investment in applying AI to the climate crisis. It’s lower than it needs to be right now.
Take a deep breath! I know, this is a lot to commit to doing all at once. Start by deciding that, collectively, we can do this, and that you will play your part as best you can.
“While we can’t turn back clock on past emissions, we can still achieve a better world in which nature and humans can thrive together.” Figueres and Rivett-Carnac.
Then pick one action from those listed above to start with. Begin today.
I’d love to know what’s grabbing your attention or what questions are running through your mind. Let me know in the comments section. I’ll respond in one of my blog posts.
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All the best,
Krista / Eco-Omi