Krista Kurth, Ph.D.
Selecting the Level of Your Climate Impact
Updated: Oct 29, 2020
Do you care about climate change and want to take action but aren’t sure which solutions will make the most impact?
Many people I talk with make similar statements. They want to make a real difference with the limited time and money they have. But they don’t have enough information to identify which actions will maximize their effect. Or they think the only way to have an impact is to do everything, which feels like too much.
Please take heart. You personally don’t have to do every known activity out there to help stop climate change. You can select effective actions that resonate best and make the most sense for you in your life.
So, how then do you select the most impactful climate actions?
First, it is helpful to understand the four types of focused action. If you read my last post, you might already be a bit familiar with a few of them.
Four Levels of Climate Action
Will Grant, who is connected with the Pachamana Alliance, describes four levels of climate action in a talk he gives in one of their courses.
1. Individual: action we take by ourselves in our daily lives, like recycling and carrying bags with us to the grocery store. This results in Lifestyle Change.
2. Close Circle: action we take with people with whom we’re directly linked, like talking with friends about climate change and convincing our family to install solar on our home or join a community- supported agriculture group. This often leads to
Values Change. 3. Community and Local: action we take with neighbors and co-workers within the establishments in our local communities, like organizing a community solar group in our town, or asking our workplace to make the building more energy efficient. This involves Community Change.
4. State, National, Global: action we take to change the economy, policies, and laws that enable the scaling up of solutions. Activities at this level involve putting pressure on companies and government to create Systems Change.
Together, we need to take action on all four levels to move the dial fully on climate change. But you can pick which level (s) make most sense for you. There are many effective actions you can take at each level. (Note: I’ll be providing more information on specific actions for each category in upcoming blog posts).
I want to point out, however, that Grant says, as everyday people, our greatest impact may be at Levels Two and Three. This is where we have relationships we can leverage to make change happen from the “middle out.”
When we work to change a local institution, we impact the lives of hundreds of people in our community. That change then becomes a model for further change.
We also generate a conversation about climate in our community. For instance, if I can spend a few hours a week organizing a group of parents to lobby for solar panels on my kids’ school, then other parents in nearby schools may take note and ask for solar panels on their buildings too.
Selecting Your Level (s) of Climate Impact
Which levels of climate action do you want to take part in?
Which of the four levels best fit your personal situation?
Where does it make sense for you to speed up the uptake of solutions where you live?
Now that you have a hint of which Levels of Climate Action you are most interested in, the next step in the sorting process is to look at the three Climate Fronts, overall types of climate solutions. I’ll discuss them in my next blog post.
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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If you missed my earlier posts taking climate action you can find them here.
All the best,Krista / Eco-Omi