Every day, do something to improve your attitude and build momentum for change.
According to a recent poll, people in today’s world are: especially younger peopleWhen it comes to combating climate change, many people feel helpless.
Here’s the thing: That’s exactly how polluting corporations wantYou can feel what you want. The more people believe their actions don’t matter, the more they find themselves rolling over and accepting the status quo.
Yes, solving the climate crisis requires bold action from governments and corporations, but that doesn’t mean individuals have to sit on the sidelines. Our actions have to be taken seriously. add up and influence others, we also have the ability to push for — and demand — systemic change.
This push can, crucially, help us to change our individual feelings of despair. Scientists and climate activists say that we can move from feeling helpless and hopeless about the future to a more positive, productive outlook by taking a few steps.
These steps can create momentum for the long-term if they are done correctly. Katharine Hayhoe, a scientist, said that these steps can create a momentum for the future. wrote last month: “If we wait for someone else to fix the problem, we’ll never solve it. But when we raise our voices to call for change, when we take action together — that’s when we find that hope is all around us.”
With that in mind, we’ve created a simple action plan for the next 30 days. They include small steps we can take to advocate for bigger societal changes — and in the process remind us that the power for change lies in ourselves, too.
- Send a public comment to the Federal Rules or Regulations you are interested in. There are many ways to express your support and concerns at regulations.gov. You might be surprised at how few comments have been submitted or how important your voice is.
- Write to your senator to demand action on climate — either in general or about a specific legislative action. (Find your elected officials’ contact information here.)
- Send a similar request to your congressional representative, perhaps one that is more specific to your district. Remember that your voice as a voter counts throughout the year.
- Write to your mayor and other community leaders about how climate is affecting your area, and encourage them to act.
- Ask your local parks manager about their plans for keeping green spaces open in the face rising temperatures, wildfires, and increased extreme storms.
- Attend your local planning board meeting and speak out about any projects you feel don’t pass environmental muster. You can’t stop runaway development without getting in front of the people who make the decisions about what goes where.
- Attend a school board meeting to support educators’ efforts to teach science (or, you know, to verify that they’re actually teaching it in the first place).
- Write to a major corporation or retailer to offer feedback about their business models — for example, overpackaging. Can’t find a public email address? Sometimes it pays off to take photos share them on social media.
- You can go one step further and sign up for support producer responsibility legislation.
- Now, strike closer to home. Ask your top employer in your area about their climate policies and ask them to adopt more sustainable business practices. (Be specific. It shows that you are knowledgeable about their business and their role within your community.
- Ask your energy company to switch your account to renewable sources. The more customers who sign up for power from solar or wind, the better.
- Hit ‘em in their stock portfolios. If you, your company, church or friends have any fossil fuels investments, either intentionally or not, please let me know. divestingThis is a great way of expressing your concern that profiting from destruction is not socially or financially acceptable.
- Walk — or run! — around your neighborhood with a garbage bag or two to pick up trash and recyclables, then post what you find to social media. (This isn’t necessarily about shaming people; it’s a good way to show our effect on the environment.)
- Participate in a larger cleanup event in your locality. Connect with local activists and organizations while you’re at it. You’re going to need people to talk to about all of this, so build your community as you go along.
- Find a Little Free LibraryStock up on environmentally-themed books in your local library. You never know who might be interested in them. (Don’t have a Little Free Library near you? Talk to your local bricks & mortar library about setting-up a display or webpage about climate-related books and other related topics.
- Ask how you could help with an environmental justice cause in the area. We can practically guarantee some neighborhoods in your community suffer higher environmental burdens than others (if you don’t know of any, one place to start your search is the Environmental Justice Atlas). Find out how to support existing efforts and increase awareness. Oh, and if you’re in an area affected by these burdens, it’s OK to ask for help.
- Participate in a demonstration. Join a protest. (Pro tip – Use a reusable board instead of making posters that end up in the rubbish.
- Share positive news. Stop the temptation to use social media to spread disinformation and stories that make people angry and tear us apart. The Earth Optimism Conservation OptimismAccounts are a good place for starting.
- Follow climate scientists on social media to amplify their voices. Check out Katharine Hayhoe’s “Scientists who do climate” list on Twitter for ideas (or just bookmark the whole list).
- Review a green product and write about the positive qualities. Online commerce is a world where products and businesses are judged by their reviews. You can also leave negative reviews for products that you find offensive or whose marketing claims are merely greenwashing.
- You can find climate denial videos on YouTube (Tucker Carlson a good example) and give them thumbs down votes so that fewer people will recommend them. (Just don’t watch too long: That way lies madness.)
- Ask your friends for their energy-saving tips. You might find a lot of useful suggestions online that you can all benefit from. Tom Ptak is a Texas State University professor in environmental studies. wrote recently, “When enough individuals make changes that lower daily household energy consumption, huge emissions reductions can result.”
- Start or join an environmental book club so you’re up to date on the latest climate science or related issues (and can share with like-minded other readers). Here’s a list of recent books to get you started.
- Write to your local media — either a letter for publication about an issue, or just a friendly note to a local editor or reporter to praise their climate coverage. You could also suggest they do better.
- Subscribe or donate to environmental news. A strong independent press serves as an essential watchdog against corporate corruption and corporate malfeasance.
- Install a Google Alert for a topic you’re passionate about. It can be as simple as “climate change,” a topic like “sea-level rise,” or more specific like “climate” and the name of your town.
- Check out the following: skeptic’s argument so you can debunk disinformation when you encounter it — which you will.
- Register with a voter registration effort in your local area or a voter motivation effort through a national organisation like the Environmental Voter Project — or make a plan to volunteer on Election Day. (You’re registered to vote, too, right?)
- Consider running for office and encouraging your friends to do it. There are still many races that can be contested in the 2022 election.
- Support the ongoing fight by donating to an environmental non-profit. Every dollar counts. You time matters, too, so if you can’t afford to give, there’s probably a good way for you to donate your time by making phone calls, sharing petitions, stuffing envelopes, or doing something that matches your particular skillset.
- Take some time and reflect on the month. What worked? What didn’t? What did you learn? What would you do again? What didn’t make it onto this list that you’d like to try? Another month looms around the corner, and the opportunities to make a difference are endless — even as the time to act grows shorter.
Is the editor of The Revelator. His work has been published in the prestigious environmental journal, The Award-Winning Environmental Journalist. Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, as well as many other publications and magazines. His “Extinction Countdown” column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. He is a member of both the Society of Environmental Journalists as well as the National Association of Science Writers. John lives in Portland, Oregon, near cartoonists and animals.