2023 has started with some inspiring stories of individuals doing what they can to address climate change. How can we translate our admiration for them into personal action?
The starting point is to change the pronoun:”That’s what
everyone I should be doing.” It’s then important to frame this question with realistic expectations. We’re used to getting things, not giving them up. Unlike these guys, our actions probably won’t make the headlines or feed our need for immediate gratification and ‘likes’. So it’s hard to get motivated about living sustainably, which isn’t aligned with what we define as sexy, fun and successful.
Although climate responsibility for our loved ones can seem like just another chore in our busy lives, sustainable living addresses a deeper emotional need than that part shaped by individualism and consumer capitalism. Acting in the interests of our loved ones fulfills our need for connection and purpose.
Recognising, acknowledging and changing our behaviours as citizens and consumers, relative and friend, worker and boss, investor and social media user is easier when we do it in the interests of those we love.
At this year’s World Economic Forum, members of the super rich continued their years-long campaign for the introduction of wealth taxes. Given that they’ll still be left with billions, it’s easy enough to dismiss their campaign as a no-brainer. Except for the fact that us mere mortals consistently vote against increases in progressive taxes.
Such taxes would provide our governments with the revenue needed to address climate mitigation and adaption, such as the the Loss and Damage fund agreed at COP27. Think that’s not your problem? If we in the the global north don’t address the climate injustice facing the global south, our loved ones will face the fallout of unbelievable levels of forced migration, making the 2015 controversy of Germany taking in 1 million refugees look like child’s play.
Vote and advocate for the climate future of your loved ones.
In refusing to fly from Britain to Australia, 16 year-old athlete, Innes Fitzgerald, prioritised her climate anxiety and the climate needs of others above the opportunity to compete in the World Athletics Competition.
“I was just nine when the COP21 Paris Climate agreement was signed. Now, eight years on, and global emissions have been steadily increasing, sending us on a path to climate catastrophe. Sir David King, former government chief scientific advisor, has said, ‘What we do, I believe, in the next three to four years will determine the future of humanity.’ The science is clear. Turning this around is only possible through transformational change from collective and personal action.
I would never be comfortable flying in the knowledge that people could be losing their livelihoods, homes and loved ones as a result. The least I can do is voice my solidarity with those suffering on the front line of climate breakdown. Coming to a decision has not been easy, however little compares to the grief I would feel taking the flight.”Innes Fitzgerald
Recognising our own fear, grief and loss, and the feelings of our loved ones, can make us bury our heads deeper in the sand – or galvanise us into action. Think of the future of your loved ones and choose action. Reduce the emissions you’re leaving them by changing your mobility decisions. Reduce your meat consumption. Reduce your energy consumption through how you heat and cool, and what ‘stuff’ you buy and use. The emissions created in the production of the new toy you want to buy belong to you, not the factory in China.
Despite expert warnings against new fossil fuel projects, banks continue to channel tens of billions to funding fossil fuel expansion. Since the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the world’s 60 largest banks have poured US$ 4.6 trillion into the fossil fuel industry
Make sure your money isn’t being used to further destroy the climate future of your loved ones. The more money you have, the more important this easy step is.
Add your voice and action to those being taken by others around the world. Yes, it’s hard to shift from being an observer to a mitigator, but the climate future of your loved ones is worth the effort and initial sense of sacrifice.
Together, we’ve got this