Krista Kurth, Ph.D.
How Do You Show Your Love for the World?
Updated: Feb 9, 2022
Let these 5 climate actions be your love letter to the Earth
During the month of February, many of us around the world turn our attention to sharing love with those whom we love. However, we don’t often think about showing our love for our singular home, the one and only planet that supports our very lives.
Love is much more than a feeling, it is action. In fact, one of the five love languages is Acts of Service. This month I encourage you to show your love by actively serving the world in which you live. As Elizabeth Barrett Browning says in her well-known sonnet, How do I love thee?, let’s count the ways in which we can turn climate action into a love letter to the Earth.
Five Ways to Show Your Love for the World
1. Reduce Methane Emissions.
Due to the nature of this gas, decreasing the impact of methane now is the single most effective strategy (albeit not sufficient by itself) for limiting warming to 1.5°C. Fortunately, it is possible to do this. According to the IEA, the oil & gas industry can achieve a 75% reduction in methane emissions with current technologies, and up to 70% at no net cost. In November 2021, 110 countries pledged to take voluntary actions to reduce global methane emissions collectively by at least 30% by 2030. So, what can you do as an individual to reduce methane emissions? Do one or more of the following:
Sign petitions, like the ActionNetwork’s and Move On’s, demanding fossil fuel companies fix methane gas leaks, capture methane gas, stop venting unwanted gas, and shut down pipelines.
Buy renewable energy to support the shift away from fossil fuel production and use.
Swap out your gas stove for an electric stove when you can. A recent study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, found that “gas stoves constantly leak methane into the air, even when turned off,” which is not good for you nor climate change.
Reduce your beef consumption from industrial farms by buying meat that is pasture-raised from a farm using regenerative agriculture practices.
Eat a more plant-rich diet.
Waste less food. This article has tips on how best to do that.
Read my post, Fluorinated Gases, Nitrous Oxide, and Methane, Oh My!, to learn more about methane and what other actions you can take.
2. Tend the Trees.
Forests help “stabilize the climate. They regulate ecosystems, protect biodiversity, play an integral part in the carbon cycle, support livelihoods, and can help drive sustainable growth.” They also are a natural carbon sink and a key solution for removing GHG emissions from the atmosphere. Old-growth forests, like the Amazon and Boreal forests, are especially crucial.
Sign Petitions like a) Environment Maryland’s petition asking the Forest Service to save the Tongass by restoring the Roadless Rule protections; b) the petition asking Costco to “stop all sourcing of boreal forest trees and commit to a minimum 50% post-consumer recycled material for Kirkland brand toilet paper;” c) Greenpeace’s petition to protect rainforests from industrial agriculture; d) other forest petitions, like the ones on this page and this page.
Donate to an organization working on protecting forests, like the 7 working to protect the amazon listed in this article; or indigenous groups, like Pachamama Alliance, Smithsonian Global or others listed in article. Read this post to see a longer list of forest organizations.
Use your consumer power by “Reducing your consumption of animal products” since many forests are cut down for industrial meat production; buying tissue, paper towels, and toilet paper made from bamboo or 100% recycled materials. I buy mine from Who Gives a Crap; and/or signing up to use the free Ecosia search engine. They use their ad profits to plant trees where they are needed.
3. Stop the Money Pipeline.
The finance sector plays a large role in keeping the fossil fuel industry going. The large banks provide loans to companies for exploration and drilling, and the insurance industry insures those projects. Without financing and insurance, these projects can’t go forward. And this is no small matter. According to the Fossil Banks, No Thanks site, “in the 5 years since the Paris Agreement, the world’s 60 biggest banks alone have already provided a staggering USD 3.8 trillion to the fossil fuel sector.”
Open accounts (bank, credit cards, mortgages) with a community bank or credit union. There are even new banking institutions being established, like the Climate First Bank and Beneficial State Bank, that focus on environmental sustainability. Green America provides resources, like a tool for finding a better local bank and a Guide, that can help you take step-by-step action. They also help you find credit cards that support environmental work.
Join the Global Call to Banks movement to stop funding fossil fuels.
Hire an SRI financial advisor who can help you transition away from owning fossil fuel companies in your investments. Green America has a list that you can use as a starting place. If you don’t have a large enough investment to hire one, you can use a digital platform, like Earth Equity Align, to help you invest fossil free.
Ask the administrators of your retirement account at work to offer SRI options. Kelly Anne Smith, an advisor with Forbes, suggests you gather co-workers who are also interested in SRI options and, together, tell the leadership why they are important and why you want them. Be prepared with information on SRI funds that have good track records and evidence that these types of investments are more stable. Green America has a webpage that provides more resources for employers. Keep the conversation going until they provide these options to employees.
Read this post, Harness Your Monetary Power in Support of the Climate, to get more resources and specific actions to take.
4. Join the Climate Movement.
Climate activism has grown into a full-blown, effective global movement. Activists have played a pivotal role in keeping pressure on governments to act on their climate commitments and increase their pledges this year. Various groups, like 350.org, Fridays For Future, and the Climate Action Network to name a few, in recent years have mobilized millions of people across the globe using new activism models and online tactics. Climate activists will continue to be a force for change, both from the outside and as climate strategists for governments and businesses.
Join or support youth activists. Young activism is essential in the fight against climate change as more young people join the movement. Donate to or attend a local gathering organized by a youth climate movement organization, like Extinction Rebellion, Sunrise Movement, or Fridays For Future. Ask them what support they need and help provide it. Listen to the voices of its powerful young leaders, like Isra Hirsi, Varshini Prakash, and Jamie Margolin in the U.S., Leah Namugerwain Uganda, and Greta Thunberg of Sweden.
Join a local chapter of an environmental organization working on climate change. Organizations, like The Sierra Club, 350.org, The Climate Reality Project, Climate Action Network, Global Citizen, and Citizens Climate Lobby, have member groups around the world that engage in community efforts to implement climate efforts and policy.
If you are an elder or grandparent, join a group of like-minded peers. Activists’ organizations for this group include Grandparents for Climate Action Now, Elders Climate Action, Norwegian Grandparents Climate Campaign, Grandparents Climate Action, Gray is Green, Grandparents for the Future, Raging Grannies International, and Third Act, a new organization started by Bill McKibben, who says, “Experienced Americans are the fastest-growing part of the population: 10,000 people a day pass the 60-year mark. That means that there’s no way to make the changes that must be made to protect our planet and our society unless we bring the power of this group into play.”
5. Take Political Action
Since so much of the global climate action depends on governments around the world enacting legislation and allocating money to climate priorities, it is important to demand environmental leadership from our politicians. You can:
Vote for candidates who pledge climate action. Here in the U.S. with congressional elections taking place in November, this is crucial. Check out the League of Conservation Voters’ endorsements and Sierra Club’s state chapters.
Join a get out the environmental vote effort, like the ones run by the Environmental Voters Project.
Donate to environmental leaders. LCV has a “Give Green” one-stop site where you can easily contribute to the campaigns of endorsed candidates.
Defend voting rights. The ACLU has a variety of actions on voting rights you can take. Engage with a Common Causecampaign. Read this article, The Most Powerful Climate Action You Can Take This Year, for more ideas.
Demand your local and state representatives pass bills that declare climate emergencies and then create specific plans to reduce GHG emissions by 2030. The Climate Emergency Declaration organization has information on who has declared emergencies so far, a list of petitions, and a toolbox to use in your local efforts.
Write to your national and regional representatives asking them to support and pass bold policies that help agriculture become net-zero. In the U.S., there are two acts legislators have introduced in Congress: The Growing Climate Solutions Act (aims to streamline and reduce barriers to entry for farmers, ranchers, and foresters who want to take part in carbon offset markets) and the Agriculture Resilience Act (gives farmers the tools they need to become net-zero by 2040).
If I’ve counted right, I’ve provided 25 ways you can show love for the earth.
Which climate actions will you write into your love letter to the world?
Building on Sarah Sheppard’s article on performing Acts of Service as a way to show love, you can utilize your strengths, and take actions that are easy for you to integrate into your schedule. Look at your calendar and set aside time for climate action each week this month.
I wish you all the best in your climate action.