I’ll admit it, I drank the Inconvenient Truth Kool-Aid when the movie came out in 2006. I’m a research type of gal — though the film was compelling, I spent hours researching the topic of climate change myself, and I continue to collect data and read reports to this day. (“Hey Stephanie, your nerd side is showing right now.”) And although I’m a fan of open and honest debate, this is not the time for that. Spending time debating a vocal minority about whether climate change is happening and whether it’s caused by human activity has simply become a waste of time.
Now is the time for action, which is why we have Blog Action Day. This is the third annual inception of Blog Action Day, and it’s also the third year in a row that I’m participating: previously, it was the environment, and then it was poverty. This year, it’s climate change.
We’re Broke, Not Broken
I know it can be tough to find ways to make a difference when you’re just starting out with your own life. Believe me: there’s not a lot of spare room in my own budget. But taking action doesn’t necessarily have to cost anything. There’s lots you can do for free… and yes, some things may even save you money.
Stay informed: As with any major issue, the best and most important thing you can do is stay in the loop. Get your news and ideas from a variety of sources and mediums. One TV news channel doesn’t cut it… even all the TV news channels together don’t. There is more free and available information online than you could ever absorb, so vet a handful of trustworthy sources, and keep up with them.
Don’t waste your money on green-washed products: Just because a product says “Green!” or “Eco-Friendly!” on the packaging doesn’t mean it really is. Go for simple products will less packaging — these will save you money while still being better for the environment. If you’re staying on top of the issues and the news, you’ll get a sense of which “green” products are worth buying, and which are not. And remember the three “R”s: reduce, then reuse, then recycle. And buy recycled when appropriate to keep the cycle going.
Small efforts are worth it: Because most of the time, small efforts don’t just help the environment, they also keep you healthy, reduce clutter, and make life less stressful. So when someone tells you that reusing something isn’t worth it because small efforts don’t matter, think about the other ways you’re helping yourself and your family by doing it. Check out The Good Human’s “Do One Thing” series for small efforts that are really worth it!
Secure your own mask first before helping others: Yes, you should do what you can, and try to get your friends and family involved… but some effects of climate change may already be inevitable due to our slow movement on fixing the issues. Let me ask you something: Do you have flood insurance? I’m serious. Scientists have been warning us that sea levels will rise, and the ocean temperature is definitely rising. Are you prepared if your neighborhood floods? Is your employer prepared if your place of work floods? Find out. Don’t assume things will be okay — know.
Handwrite letters to your legislators: A professor of mine once had a conversation with a Congressman in New York. He said that he receives dozens of emails a day, but do you know how many letters he gets in the mail from his constituents? He got 12 that year. A real letter on real paper with an honest-to-goodness stamp will stand out and really get your legislators’ attention. Write your thoughts, include some facts and sources, and demand real change. If that doesn’t work, put on a suit and go pay them a visit. Take some friends with you.