By: Bobbi Peterson
On October 5th, 2016, leaders from all over the world met in Paris to discuss climate change in the landmark Paris Agreement. When asked on the campaign trail what the greatest threat facing America was, Bernie Sanders answered with climate change. The Syrian war and resulting refugee crisis has stemmed in part from climate change. Drastic weather changes all over the globe are taking people by surprise, from flooding in the southern U.S. to a springtime Nor’easter that dumped more than two feet of snow in parts of New England.
It’s time to take a stand and do what you can to combat climate change. Here are five things you can do:
1. Make Politicians Accountable
Climate change should not be a political debate, but confusion regarding truth and validity has made it one. Currently, the Trump administration has drastically cut funding for climate change research and claims it will not spend time or money on it. For those familiar with the worldwide scientific consensus, this attitude should be unacceptable.
There are plenty of ways to resist, but one of the most important things you can do is put pressure on the people in charge. Writing, emailing and calling your congressional representatives are important steps and they can really. make a difference. Participating in demonstrations is also important, and both the March for Science and the People’s Climate March are coming up next month. A mass showing that makes headlines puts a lot of pressure on politicians.
2. Support the Industry
There are many businesses, both big and small, that are working on innovative, green technologies. Buying their products or stocks, volunteering and finding other ways to support them is vital to their survival. Things like investing in a hybrid car and installing solar panels are great steps, but they aren’t possible for everyone. You can do things like buy cleaning products from companies that use hybrid cars, but that’s only half the battle.
Cutting greenhouse gas production simply isn’t enough. We need to start reducing the CO2 already present if we want to make real headway. For that we need is to support innovations that aren’t on the market yet. For many that means spreading awareness. Start a blog or post about it on your Facebook page. Alert people to the idea that more needs to be done and point out who’s doing it.
3. Invest in Alternative Fuels
Although stopping production of CO2 isn’t enough, it’s certainly a large factor in the equation. Large companies are the biggest contributor of greenhouse gasses, but individuals contribute too. For many, transportation and home heating and cooling are huge. There are a variety of different fuels you can use. People aren’t limited to just gasoline anymore.
You can choose among gasoline, ethanol, electricity, hydrogen, natural gas, methanol and even biodiesel. Of those, electricity is the best option, with the highest mileage for the least cost. Of course, an electric car isn’t in everyone’s budget, but switching to another kind of gas like biodiesel is more feasible. Most vehicles can be converted to biofuel without too much work.
4. Get a Job
If you really want to make a difference, get a job with a company that’s working to mitigate climate change. Millennials have the opportunity to help humans, as a species, survive. That’s huge and it’s something many people will want to be part of. What it really comes down to is the idea that human innovation can save our planet.
To create the technology, you need a skillset in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) — but you don’t need that to make a difference. The people doing the work can’t do it alone. They need people who can make them known, and make the work visible. It’s the only way to get funding and the only way to combat alternative facts.
5. Get Educated
Right now we face a crisis. Even if we change course and start adopting green technologies left, right and center, our planet will still be subject to climate change and all the related effects. CO2 hangs around in the atmosphere for 100 years or more, meaning innovation to remove the gas is necessary to help our planet. To do that, you need to learn. A lot.
The most basic thing you can do is start learning, writing and sharing accurate, truthful information. People are flooded with lies and misinformation, cherry-picked statistics and logical fallacies. More scientists and writers are trying to combat this by telling the truth. The more you learn, the more you can inform.
Politics is almost always slow on the uptake, but they’re currently slowed further by flat-out misinformation and lies. Taking action, no matter how small, to spread awareness and support the development of new technologies is vital. That’s something everyone can, and should, do.
About the author: Bobbi Peterson is a green living advocate dedicated to sustainability, education, and helping people achieve a more environmentally-conscious life. You can read more from Bobbi at her blog, Living Life Green.