Learning how you can help stop global warming means changing the way you live, and doing it in the most public way possible to help raise awareness.
US citizens have the worst impact on global warming compared with every other country. US citizens account for only 5% of the world’s population, but 25% or more of its total resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Our consumer society is a system with great inertia that has already contributed disproportionately to the onset of global warming.
You must take personal action. How can you honestly hope to stop global warming if you don’t model the behavior you wish to see? If you want to see real change, you must initiate it. How can you start? Make a change in your own life.
Personal, Local and Global Solutions
This is where you have the most control: you can take many steps, including choosing to sell your car, ride your bike, buy your goods and services from the most local sources available, grow your own food instead of importing it from thousands of miles away, and retrofit your home or build a new one for maximum energy efficiency.
You can drastically reduce your energy consumption in numerous ways, and be a direct example to others of the best opportunity available to prevent global warming – taking direct action. You can also reduce your consumption of manufactured goods, which will in turn reduce economic growth of corporations that contribute to global warming via the energy used to create and ship the product.
Local and state governments remain quite accessible to people like you, and have increasingly taken the lead on global warming prevention, with more than 225 US cities pledging support for the Kyoto protocol or even more stringent reductions in emissions, despite foot-dragging at the national level.
You can join or start a local group about global warming or climate change action. In doing so your efforts to influence your local government have a high likelihood of success. State and local politics often turn on anticipated impact and voter interest; bringing this topic to council meetings, show what changes you are making and how many others like you are getting involved, and emphasize the power of local and state initiatives to spark innovation and bring economic growth in the growing fields of alternative energy and environmental remediation.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the highest international scientific body working on this topic, recently released its latest assessment and stated unequivocally that humans are causing global warming, laying out a range of likely global ecological changes over the next century that go from bad to worse, depending on how soon we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
You can put serious pressure on governments and corporations to change and thus help stop global warming at the national and international level. You can start an online petition directed at them clarifying you and your peers’ concerns. Write or call them regularly to make clear that rapid action to stop global warming is the only way to ensure your support and your business. You may be surprised to find how receptive they are to your concerns.
Small Groups: A Powerful Force
As Margaret Mead put it, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed citizens to change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” You and I have the power to help determine our future. There is no time to waste. Global warming is happening now and you will soon see its effects. The opportunity is ripe. Will you choose your future or wait until dire change is forced upon you?
Your Change Teaches Others
Changing yourself is easy, you may say, but you’re only one person– so how can we help stop global warming even more effectively?
You can become a beacon for change. It is difficult to do this alone, but the more people that see the path you choose and examples you provide of what they themselves can do, the easier it will be for them to join you. In fact, the more you act publicly to prevent global warming, the more viable this alternate path becomes. As you act in your daily life in ways that help prevent global warming, you gain the visibility necessary to influence behaviors and change minds in other places, increasing your positive impact. Do you have the courage to start a change?
Author: Brown, Nathan. A Cooler Climate, 2008.