5 Climate Actions You Can Take Right Now in the World
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
Follow the Advice of Two Top Climate Experts (Part One)
If your life is like the rest of the world’s, I can imagine that your plate is overflowing with challenges and things to do just to get through the day. You might be feeling as if the twin tsunami’s of Covid-19 and the economy are crashing on the shore and wreaking havoc everywhere.
However, as the cartoon by Mackay depicts, there is even a bigger wave coming fast on the heels of the other two; the impacts of climate change.
While we deal with being safe, taking care of our families, and keeping a roof over our heads, we must also pay attention to reducing the greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere.
We cannot afford to pause our climate action. As Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac (architects of the 2015 Paris Agreement) say in The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis,
“Greenhouse gases are emitted as a direct result of the things humans do to survive, such as sourcing food and getting around. Our ways of doing and being have become so entangled with what is killing the planet that we cannot feasibly just flip a switch and stop emitting greenhouse gases…. We need transformational change at the speed that science demands and in a manner consistent with democracy…. This is an everyone-everywhere mission in which we all must individually and collectively assume responsibility.”
To help us take action, these two climate experts outline ten action areas that will help us reduce emissions and build resilient societies. In this post, I outline five of them. I will cover the remaining five in a follow up post. If you want to learn about all ten now, go to my longer article on Medium.
They invite us to jump in and act, even if it boils down to urging others to take climate change seriously or focusing first on one or two areas that make the most sense to you. You can always add more over time.
“We are all weavers of the grand tapestry of history.” Figueres and Rivett-Carnac
Which thread(s) will you lace into the loom of your life?
Five Actions for Creating a Regenerative Future from The Future We Choose
1. Engage in Politics.
To meet the challenge of the climate crisis, we must actively engage at all levels of politics. We must hold our elected officials accountable for the state of the world. As we enter the 2nd half of 2020, make a plan for how you will engage.
Elect leaders who see far-reaching action on climate as their first priority. Large numbers of people must vote on climate as their priority.
Participate in non-violent political movements where possible. Civil disobedience is a powerful way to shape world politics. Political shifts require it. Research shows we only need 3.5% of population to participate for change to happen.
Sign petitions and boycott corporations. Put pressure on them to stop lobbying against citizen action on climate change. Stop buying their stocks, products, services.
2. Reforest the Earth.
Stands of trees teeming with life are integral to our survival. It’s time to restore the land we have degraded.
Plant trees. Few actions are as critical for climate change, or as simple, as planting trees. Commit to plant at least one tree right now, then plant more. Don’t think of it as an offset, but as a way to absorb the carbon you’ve already put in the atmosphere.
Let nature flourish (rewilding). Allow land to return to its natural process. Participate in a rewilding initiative.
Eat a plant-based diet. Decrease your carbon footprint by consuming less meat and dairy. Boycott products that contribute to deforestation. Almost all tropical deforestation is driven by demand for 4 commodities: beef, soy, palm oil, and wood.
3. Build Gender Equality.
When women lead, good things happen. Look at the countries that have most quickly slowed the spread of Covid-19. Most of them are led by women. Research also shows that institutions led by women take stronger climate action. (note: building racial equality is similarly crucial. I will write more in an upcoming post). Possible actions include:
Support the young women leaders who are now demanding urgent climate action. Volunteer to support an upcoming youth virtual rally.
Ask the company you work in to increase the number of women in top decision-making positions. Ask for a deserved promotion for yourself at work. If you are a man, encourage and support your female colleagues, family and friends.
Donate to organizations educating women and girls worldwide. Millions of girls are being denied education. More educated girls have fewer children, are empowered to make a difference in their own lives and communities.
Consider running for public office if you are a woman.
Join a women’s movement group.
4. Invest in a Clean Economy.
Finance and investment play a key role in creating an economy that “operates in harmony with nature, repurposes used resources as much as possible, minimizes waste, and actively replenishes depleted resources.” Recognize that your money has the power to destroy or to build.
Talk with your bank. Ask if they are financing fossil fuel extraction. If so, move your accounts to a community bank that invests locally.
Put your money where it matters. If you have a pension fund or savings, find out where your money is invested. Ask your employer to shift its pension fund away from fossil fuels. Encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same. If you have the good fortune to have wealth, divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy. We are already seeing that dirty, polluting investments perform less well than greener alternatives.
5. Move Beyond Fossil Fuels.
The authors say we must let go of the belief that fossil fuels are necessary for humanity to thrive in the future. You can help make a smooth transition happen.
Stand up for 100% renewable energy. Sign up for renewable energy via your energy supplier if possible. Vote for leaders in your local community who advocate clean energy.
Make a time-bound ambitious plan. Explore how you can reduce your personal emissions by 60% by 2030. Most of your current emissions likely come from flying, driving, and heating and cooling your home. Improve insulation and move towards electric heating and cooling, buy an electric car if you can, or ride share, reduce flying if you live in a wealthy country (or buy carbon credits to offset travel).
Which of these 5 areas will you choose to engage in right now?
Pick one (or two) and make a plan of action.
As the Figueres and Rivett-Carnac write, “It’s up to all of us, to all the nations and peoples of the world. No matter how complex or deep our differences, we fundamentally share everything that is important: the desire to forge a better world for everyone alive today and all the generations to come. … Humanity is capable of coming together to do this.”
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