Krista Kurth, Ph.D.
Yes. You have the Power to Make a Difference on Climate
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
Learn about the ways you can leverage your power to take impactful climate steps.
Given the enormity of the climate crisis, it's natural to wonder if we, as individuals, can have an impact with our actions. What power do I have to change the imbedded systems that define how we do things? My response to the question is that you have more power than you think.
I'm sure you've heard this famous quote attributed to various people.
If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.
If each of us does what we can to take climate steps at home, we not only make a difference in our small circle of influence, but we also add to the cumulative impact of all the other people in the world taking climate action. When our individual voices and actions match and join others', our aggregate power can transform everything around us.
We are like imaginal cells in a caterpillar that enables it to turn into a butterfly. As Marc Winn writes in this blog post, each of the imaginal cells operates as a single-cell organism – entirely independent of one another at first. But as the cells multiply, they connect with one another, forming clusters. Then, they start to communicate in the same language, passing information back and forth until there is a tipping point. They stop acting as separate cells and become a multiple-celled whole organism.
Become an Imaginal Cell
Like a metamorphosing caterpillar, each of us can be an imaginal cell spreading ideas and connecting with others taking climate action. Each of us can join the growing multi-celled movement that is working to transform our current systems, policies, and processes into ones that will enable us to meet the climate emergency we are experiencing. Let's harness the power that each of us already has by taking what action we can at home and joining with others to make our voices heard.
Many Ways To Make Your Voice Heard
Luckily, there is a wide range of ways to use your powerful voice. You can:
Sign Petitions. Many environmental organizations, like Green America, Green Peace Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club Foundation, 350.org, and NRDC research important issues and create campaigns to address climate change. You can sign up to get notices via email or Facebook.
Write Letters: Personalized letters to the editor and your elected officials make a big difference. Many environmental organizations provide sample letters you can use. If you don't have a lot of time, use their template and add a personal note or sentence at the beginning of the email. If you have more time, then use their template to support you in writing a customized letter. Print out your letter and send it snail mail.
Talk with Colleagues, Neighbors and Family Members. We have an influence on the people in our close circle and communities who respect us. Although you might be hesitant about ruffling the waters, transformation will only happen if we increase the number of people taking action. This means talking with other people and sharing with them why you are taking climate steps. Make it personal and urgent and listen to your companions. There are various articles that give guidance on how best to address the subject. Here are links to two of them: Climate Change News and the Guardian.
Attend Rallies. In 2019, we saw a large uptick in the number of climate rallies taking place around the world. Young activists organized many of them. Join them at a rally in your local area to speak out about the urgent need for climate action. Many organizations offer information on collective events, including Peoples Climate Movement, Rise for Climate, Fridays for the Future, The Climate Mobilization and 350.org.
Talk with Your Employer. Raise the issue of reducing green house gas emissions at your workplace. Ask what the company or agency is doing to reduce their carbon footprint. See if you can participate in an employee committee to address the issue and provide solutions that will lessen the footprint and might also save your workplace money.
Use Your Consumer Power. Where and how we spend our money speaks volumes. Use your money to buy green and recycled products or to buy from companies with significant plans to reduce their carbon footprint. Also use your consumer voice to put pressure on companies to incorporate far-reaching climate steps in their organization and supply chain. Many of the organizations listed in the petition bullet have campaigns targeting large companies.
Vote for Climate Forward Politicians. One of the most powerful way you have to express your opinions is to vote. If you are not registered to vote, do so now and make a plan to vote in your local and national elections. Every vote counts. Research which candidates commit to enacting extensive climate policies and then vote for them in elections.
What will you do to project the power of your voice on the climate crisis?
How will you raise your voice to create a world where our children and grandchildren can thrive?
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