Overwhelmed by climate change?
A new report from the global scientific authority on climate change describes a strong risk of crisis as early as 2040. It also urges governments all around the globe to make "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" to avoid disastrous levels of global warming.
How often do you feel overwhelmed by climate change? At times it can hit me pretty hard. Like when I read UN’s latest report on the situation. Or the first time I watched “Before the flood”. When feeling this way, it is easy to simply try to ignore it all. Because it’s scary, because you don’t want it to be true, because it’s easier to live in oblivion. Global warming is scary, but we can’t let that fear stop us from trying to find solutions. Inaction has already caused rising sea levels and more extreme weather. We can’t let global warming be words that stay only in the headlines. This issue needs to be made a priority. Therefore, I’ve tried to put together a list of things to do when feeling overwhelmed, instead of being stuck in that rut where you feel helpless.
Use your voice
You have the ability to use your voice and political power to create change. And now is the time where it’s truly needed. Do not think for a minute that your vote doesn’t make a difference. Make sure to support the political parties that prioritize climate change and consider becoming politically active yourself. It will make you feel more in control of the situation and ultimately more positive about the future. By handing out flyers, attending meetings about the issue, and talking to people about why climate change is the biggest crisis humans are currently up against, you are in charge of creating a positive impact. When you aren’t distancing yourself from the issue, and fight for what you believe in, you will feel more empowered.
Another important factor in the battle against global warming is that the world needs to unite and work together towards a more sustainable future. The Paris agreement is an excellent example of how the different nations can unite to battle a shared cause. This agreement is made by the parties to the UNFCCC and it focuses om combating climate change by intensifying the investments needed for a sustainable future, among other things. It also aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, above pre-industrial levels. Although everyone can make a difference in their own way, collective action is very important for making the drastic change that is necessary. Therefore, it is essential that you vote, so that you can influence how your government is run and how it works to combat climate change. For instance, a powerful incentive is carbon tax. Carbon tax is a charge placed on greenhouse gas pollution mainly from burning fossil fuels. This fee can reduce our carbon footprint significantly and contribute in the battle against climate change. It is an efficient and clever way for governments to encourage companies and households to pollute less by investing in cleaner energy and practices.
Donate time or money
Donate time or money to organizations and scientists who works to combat climate change. There are various of ways that an organization can work towards a more sustainable world. For instance it can make an effort to promote Earth day, work to remove plastic pollution in the oceans, and inspire people to disseminate information about global warming by awarding people who do. This happened in 2007 when the Nobel Peace prize was awarded to former vice-president Al Gore and the IPCC. By doing this you are investing in your future. By donating your time or money to such organizations, you will hopefully feel less helpless, because you know that there are efforts being make to put global warming to an end. If you are looking for different non-profit organizations to support:
Make a difference
Yes, you can make a difference. You, as an individual, can have a positive impact by simply choosing the right kind of transportation. Being politically active is important, but making small changes to your every-day life is also influential. Walk or bike whenever possible, and if that is not possible, use public transport. This way you can reduce your carbon-footprint simnifically. Additionally, If you are going on vacation, consider taking the train, instead. Always ask yourself: is it really necessary that I drive? Is it possible to walk or take the bus? Becoming more conscious in your every-day life can also have a meaningful impact on your thoughts regarding the future and hope.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
The old denim jacket that you no longer use, can become a brand new skirt. Your regular plastic shampoo bottle can be swapped for a zero waste shampoo bar. Yesterdays leftover pasta can be todays tasty lunch. Instead of buying a new pair of pants at the nearest H&M, see if you can find one at a thrift store or host a clothing swap with your friends! Making a difference does not always need to be difficult. Find small ways to reduce your impact on the environment.
Eat less meat
Another great way to move towards a more sustainable life. “According to a report earlier this year, avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet.”
Switch to renewable energy and solar energy wherever possible, like solar panels, to reduce your fossil fuel consumption. Try it at your home and encourage your work-place to do the same. If you are interested in making the change, check out this website. Clean Choice Energy makes it easy to make the switch and will not cost you a lot of extra money.
Beach cleanups, clothing swaps, leftover dinner parties - you name it! Taking initiative will not only leave you feeling empowered, it will also inspire others to do the same. Show others and yourself how simple it can be to make a difference.
Stay in the know
Stay up to date
During times like these, it can be hard to stare climate change in the face, but that is precisely what you should do. Oblivion might be bliss, but it is better to know your facts, so you know how to act on them. Climate change adds considerable stress to our societies and to the environment. Not only does it cause droughts, rising sea levels and hurricanes, it also exacerbates already existing global challenges such as poverty and war.Without drastic action, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and cost more. That is why we need to act now.
Follow people who inspire
Maybe it’s time to tidy up your feed? Chose to following people who inspires to live a more conscious life. That way you can both learn more about the different issues and get different tips and tricks. Some of our favorite people to follow at the moment is @eatingwithmax, an italian, zero waste and vegan chef, who just spent some time cleaning up beaches in Bali, @trashisfortossers, that means the queen of zero waste, Lauren Singers, who run her very own Packagefree Shop and offers lots of daily inspiration, and @rocket_science, she has a positive outlook on life and the future and shares almost daily about different sustainable swaps. If you want to know more about her, you can check out this interview!
Take a course
Knowledge is power. Taking a course related to climate change, may help you understand what is happening and why it is happening better.
Talk about it
Sometimes you will just need to have a long talk with someone, in order to stay hopeful and motivated. It is no secret that climate change can be scary, which is why you can consider hosting some meet ups with friends every once i a while to discuss global warming, new reports and share about zero waste swaps and organizations. Make sure to motivate each other to choose renewable power, fly less, buy less and support organizations which are working to stop climate change. Knowing that you are a group who are up against this together, can feel motivating. If you don’t have people around you that you can talk to, try to find meet ups hosted by different organizations or a community online.
Photos by me.