Climate Change Is Not a Joke — We All Need to Do Something Now
When people first started talking about going green, they celebrated small efforts like recycling and skipping plastic straws. Although many people still hold those same standards, climate change became an active threat in the decades since sustainability first entered national conversations. Now, being eco-friendly isn’t just an “interest” or a “hobby” we can add to our dating profiles — it’s a necessity for our way of life to survive. The UN climate report has made it abundantly clear that climate change is inevitable — and unless we do something now, it will only get worse.
What can we do about climate change? We can wake up — and make changes on every level, from personal to international.
1. Don’t Just “Review Your Routine” — Adjust it Right Now
Anyone can make everyday changes to stop climate change, which is the first place to start if you haven’t taken action before. But at this point, thinking about what you can do for climate change — and recycling your Starbucks cups — isn’t enough to make a change. Start adjusting your lifestyle to reduce the damage humanity is causing.
Drive your car less, carpool, take public transportation or choose an electric vehicle to reduce CO2 emissions. Research the mission statements of the brands you buy, and make sure you only purchase from sustainable food sources, sustainably sourced materials, or companies with green efforts. Reduce the amount of goods you order online — don’t just bulk-buy everything on Amazon because it’s easy. Start composting at home. Research recycling regulations in your local community to make sure your plastics go to the right place. We all need to take real action, right now.
2. Press, Press, Press!
People picture sad polar bears on melting ice caps and don’t feel moved anymore. Unfortunately, many people just don’t see climate change as the pressing issue it is — out of sight, out of mind.
How can we fix this? Media exposure and more awareness. The ongoing effects of climate change need more press coverage so the average TV viewer and radio station listener will hear why they’re in danger and think about it every day.
If you’re asking yourself — how can I help stop climate change? — start talking with your loved ones. Mention how a recent study found a 74% increase in global deaths related to extreme temperatures caused by climate change. Discuss the recent United Nations (UN) Sixth Assessment report that points out how the climate will warm through the mid-century and intensify weather systems, droughts, and sea-level rise. These aren’t far-off, far-fetched events that won’t occur for hundreds of years — they’re real events happening right now. Devastating flooding is occurring in Germany and parts of the US. Wildfires are raging in Canada and the Pacific coast. Heatwaves are hitting everywhere from Asia to Europe to the midwest.
Climate change isn’t something that will happen to our distant descendants in the future — it’s something that’s happening to us. Right now. We need to make that clear in press coverage, and make it a priority — not a background story.
3. Corporate Culture Needs to Chip In, Big-Time
You can recycle your entire life and barely make a dent in global warming. That’s because companies and corporations play a much more significant role than individuals ever can. Journalists recently uncovered the 20 firms that produce one-third of global carbon emissions and pointed out how businesses can change the course of this climate war if they get involved.
Companies can figure out how to fight climate change by changing their business models. They can reduce their waste pollution and switch to green energy alternatives that drop in price every day because they’re in such wide demand. The larger corporations could also use the lobbyists they already have on the payroll to influence positive legal change that keeps their competition in line. Let’s be honest — if corporations don’t start making eco-friendly changes and actionable efforts to end climate change, they’re going to continue making it worse. Corporate greed at the expense of the environment needs to stop.
4. We Need to Take Legal Climate Change Action
If the government isn’t supporting climate change activism, people and companies aren’t motivated or obligated to do it either. Laws are essential in holding corporations, individuals, and everyone in between accountable. Anyone who’s asking what can we do about climate change should look for the nearest voting booth during the next local, state, and federal elections. When climate-mindful politicians change national policy and enforce it, the people who would put profits over a liveable planet will be forced to change — and work towards a healthier world along with everyone else.
5. Nations Need to Work Together
Global problems require global solutions. That idea led to the creation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which held countries accountable for reducing their CO2 emissions. However, the implementation has proven tricky. Some countries have had changing political climates, and others haven’t kept to their agreements for other reasons.
Luxembourg had a significant CO2 removal deadline but struggled to keep up with it because they didn’t have space to plant trees or bioenergy crops. First- and second-world countries have also slowed their progress because they lack the financial resources to employ climate change fighting strategies. In other cases, like the U.S.’s temporary withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, petty politics have gotten in the way of crucial changes that would help push environmental action.
We need to realize that climate change isn’t a matter of political opinion — it’s a real issue that does, and will, affect every person and every country in the world. Countries need to cooperate on a global scale with updated goals and revised strategies tailored to each country’s ever-changing abilities.
6. Old Tech Should Be Replaced
Green energy solutions aren’t a thing of the future. They exist right now, but companies and national leadership need more legal incentives to make the switch. Tech that would function in places like solar and wind power farms would make everyday changes to stop climate change more effective.
The falling costs of green energy could make carbon-free electricity 90% of the U.S. electric supply by 2035. But speeding up that process by encouraging private and federalized energy transitions could cut national CO2 emissions even faster. We’re running out of time — it needs to be out with the old, in with new green tech.
Do Something About Climate Change
“How can I help stop climate change?” Asking yourself that question means you’re on the right track. But asking isn’t enough. The reality is, we’re already deep down the dark path we created, and unless we start making significant changes now, we’ll be looking at our own destruction.
Learn what you can do and how you can influence change on national and global levels. Get your loved ones involved and look for long-term solutions. Spread awareness and campaign for political change. And more importantly, adjust your lifestyle right now — so you can make a direct difference.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ginger Abbot is a learning, lifestyle and career writer with a personal passion for travel and culture. Her work has been featured on a variety of publications, including Today's Learner, Workplace Fairness, HerMoney and StudyUSA. She is also a regular columnist at HerCampus, Screencast-O-Matic, StudentJob and CollegeXpress. Read more of her work on Classrooms, where she acts as editor.
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