A Call For Climate Action
Climate change is complex. It’s a broad term meant to capture the dramatic changes that our planet is currently experiencing. As such, it can mean anything from frequent and intensive droughts & heatwaves, to increased rainfall and flooding. The varying impact will depend on the season and on your corresponding corner of the world. One constant however, is that this is not normal. Humans are now ushering in a new era of climate instability and potential disaster.
II know I’m not alone in feeling terrified by the prospects. It is genuinely frightening! Thankfully, there are also plenty of potential solutions and climate actions for confronting the danger. They just happen to be a little more complicated than switching out your toothbrush or reusing your coffee mug.
Mitigating the climate crisis requires us to address a number of issues simultaneously. Indeed, the factors exacerbating the climate emergency are as complex as the crisis itself. They involve politics, business, sociology, psychology, human rights, environmental justice, international relations, etc. There’s definitely a lot going on.
Juggling The Burden
But just because it’s messy, that doesn’t mean we can’t work on solving it! So let’s start with what we know. One overarching quality is sustainability. We know that we need to transition our societies towards sustainability in order to advert the worst of the climate crisis. To accomplish this monumental task clearly requires collective action. We cannot do this alone.
Acknowledging that can then help guide us towards implementing a sustainability strategy. To that effect, I’ve put together these 5 Climate Actions. It’s meant to serve as a guiding path for navigating this complex undertaking.
1. Elect Politicians Who Understand & Support Science
It’s evident that we need political leaders who at the very least support science. Ideally they will be able to understand the science, but realistically speaking, simply acknowledging scientific consensus & expertise would be enough.
Our leaders need not be climate experts or atmospheric scientists in order to enact policies that protect our very life support systems. When it comes to climate action, I’m convinced this has to be one of the first. We need to vote for politicians that respect science, and hold them accountable when they do not. We shouldn’t be afraid to get political. In fact, it’s absolutely necessary.
2. End Fossil Fuel Subsidies
Governments are spending trillions of dollars globally (click image above) to support the fossil fuel industry. It’s time for that to end. Indeed, it seems pretty insane when you think about it. We are literally paying to uphold the companies that are threatening all life on this planet.
This financial support is taking place despite the vast profits that these companies have already made from destroying and exploiting. This lunacy needs to stop. Click here for the Canadian Petition, USA, UK, & Australia.
3. Tax Carbon
Another one of our most effective climate actions battling the crisis involves taxation. Taxing carbon emissions represents an attractive & practical means of tackling the alarming global heating. It literally puts a price on pollution, and it can help fund the sustainability transition.
A carbon tax not only makes sense, but it comes as a highly recommended solution from scientists and policy experts alike. In fact, the economists who worked on the modeling and analysis actually won a Nobel Prize for their work! This one looks to be a clear win that could also be implemented quickly.
4. Support Renewables
Yet another win from our climate action tool-belt is the adoption and expansion of renewables. Renewable energy sources can help meet our energy demands without contributing as dramatically towards our carbon budget.
We know that we need to cut down on fossil fuels, but we also don’t want to revert back to the Middle Ages. That’s where solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, etc. come in.
There are alternatives to fossil fuels. Air & water, not so much. Not only are the alternatives becoming ever more cost effective, but we can also support their development with the subsidies that were once allotted to fossil fuels.
In addition, carbon tax revenue can also help support that transition. It’ll obviously help the economy as well, generating plenty of jobs as we transition our energy networks. Implementing the renewable revolution is a clear win-win.
5. Update The Economic Model
On the topic of revolution, there’s definitely a lot we can do to change things up. I know, I know, change is frightening. And it’s normally met with a lot of resistance. Especially from those who benefit most from the status quo. But that doesn’t make it any less doable. The climate is changing rapidly and dramatically, whether we like it or not. It’s not sensitive to our feelings or our preference for habit and tradition. It is happening.
As such, it also presents us with an opportunity to change the way we do things. To question why it is we do what we do in the first place, and consider a possible better alternative. Understandably this might seem as the most controversial of our climate actions, but it really isn’t in the context of history. Humans have changed and adapted many times before. Indeed, it’s how we’ve survived and flourished this long.
We Can Choose Differently
Updating our economic model will require us to incorporate the natural world into our plans and operations. They now exist only as externalities. Resources to be exploited and converted to monetary value. Clearly this is unsustainable. It seems that there are (at least) two potential paths to take.
Should we choose to continue along the road of capitalism, we will need to include metrics for humans and the environment. The 3P’s as it were (People, Planet, Profit). We can choose to apply various models to help us achieve that. Be it the Doughnut Economy, The Circular Economy, or even The Symbiotic Economy. There are a number of interesting alternatives.
For those a little more daring in their imaginations, there are even more. They involve cooperative, community-based approaches that put society at the front of managing & benefiting from the commons. If your curiosity is peaked, consider diving into these TED Talks to help you envision a new social narrative.
A Potential Path Forward
It is ultimately up to us to decide how we wish to shape the future. We still have choices. The current path however is overly destructive and evidently unsustainable.
Too much is demanded of the earth, and too few benefit from it. We can do better. Hopefully the climate actions I’ve listed can help you consider your own action in the face of this crisis.
To quote (Morpheus) from The Matrix, “I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.“