This has been a strange year. While the whole world is battling a pandemic that just won’t go away, we’ve had no shortage of other serious and challenging problems come up. Wildfires have been devastating, racial injustices continue to pull at the seams of our societies, and the climate crisis looms heavy over our future.
It’s ok to feel overwhelmed. Take a moment. Take however long you need. Then remember: we can do something about this. Today, Friday September 25th, is the Global Climate Strike — a chance to reset our personal environmental goals, learn what steps governments are taking, and speak up about the future we want.
The Climate Strike started with a 15-year-old girl (you may have heard of her), Greta Thunberg, who protested in front of the Swedish parliament in 2018. The following March, more than 1 million took part in strikes across 125 countries worldwide. The following September, many more millions in 150 countries. And that is exactly why we should never doubt that one person can make a difference.
This year’s climate strike will look a little different due to the pandemic, but there’s no doubt that it’s more important than ever. Human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are leading to an accelerated warming of our planet, in fact, the last five years (2015–2019) have been the five hottest ever recorded. In the face of these accelerated changes it’s been surprisingly difficult to unite public opinion and government action around the science, even while 97% of actively publishing climate scientists are in agreement. Also, some of the countries most at risk from the early effects of a changing climate do not have the resources to adequately respond, and are responsible for a tiny fraction of global emissions relative to the richest countries.
Here are the key demands for this year’s climate strike, and some of the ways that you can be part of a solution.
1. Join the digital strike:
Take to the digital world and post about your involvement with the global climate strike. Think about your goals and try to go deeper than just a posting on social media. Engage a local politician or business leader about an environmental issue, local or global, that matters to you. Don’t settle for the easy stuff like blame and finger-pointing — go deeper and suggest potential solutions (conversations are better than arguments!).
2: Write a letter to your MP
A well-written letter to your member of parliament can go a long way. Use this letter to highlight the main changes you would like to see when it comes to the climate crisis. When writing this letter ensure that you have done your research: know the facts about their position and their parties’ position on climate change. Informed and fact-based letters will send a better message and show how serious you are about demanding change from your local or federal government.
Better yet why not encourage your friends to send in letters as well! Here is a great template to use if you don’t know where to begin.
3: Support a business or non-profit that’s doing the hard work
There are plenty of NGOs and businesses that are working on hard problems around sustainable economic growth, transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, restoring ecosystems and more. Whether you’re donating to support their work, purchasing a sustainable product, or just writing them a supportive email — this will be a significant and meaningful action.
4: Educate yourself
Climate change is a complex problem, anyone who thinks they have simple answers (get rid of greedy fossil fuel executives!) hasn’t done their homework. Our global economy, food supply chains, waste management systems, legal frameworks, etc. make up a complex and interwoven system that has been carbon-intensive for decades. Read up on these issues, give yourself the gift of patience and curiosity to think through how different aspects of our daily lives and society can be more sustainable.
5: Reconnect with nature
Remind yourself why our wonderful planet is worth saving! Finding balance with the environment starts on an individual level (physically, mentally and emotionally). Fresh air, healthy ecosystems and clean waterways are magic — soak them in, you’ll more than likely come home more inspired than ever.
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