Lately I’ve been spending more time wondering what we — the common people of the world — can actually do about climate change. My one overriding thought is that we need collective action, things we do as a group. That says to me that we need government action, because government is the way we, as a people, combine our resources and organize our efforts.
My conclusion is that the most important thing for us, as individuals, to do is to get our government on the right track. Because right now, it isn’t.
So: how do we do that? I don’t know of any one answer, or any one action that will “turn things around.” But I do have some ideas that we, as individuals, can put into action.
First and foremost, in my opinion, is to vote the climate change issue. For the most part, that means voting for democrats rather than republicans, because if you deny that the republican party is the problem then you’re in denial. But there are a few republicans — alas, very very few — who are genuinely concerned and willing to take action. I’m not talking about those who pay lip service, and I’m especially not talking about those who deflect the issue with non-commital mumbo-jumbo. The same goes for democrats: those who talk the talk but won’t walk the walk, they too have got to go. But if there’s a republican who is the real deal, vote for him or her in spite of being a democrat. If there’s a democrat who’s the real deal, vote for her or him in spite of being a republican. To put it simply: make climate change the #1 issue when you get in the voting booth.
The most important part of that is: keep Donald Trump out of the white house. Period. The second most important part is: get the senators and congresspersons who are the problem the hell out of our congress.
One way to influence those who are there, is to be heard. I know of three ways to influence your elected representatives (besides voting of course): telephone calls, emails, and handwritten letters. Do all three. Repeatedly.
And … follow the money. Find out how much your representatives receive from fossil fuel interests, and spread the word far and wide. Make ’em pay for all that money they’re taking.
Speaking of money, something you can do to help politicians and candidates who “get it” is to donate to their campaigns. It helps them get elected. Do be sure, I suggest, to include a note (or letter) with your contribution saying outright that you’re making this donation because of their stance on climate change. When enough people put their money where their mouths are, it gets attention. (P.S. you can donate to this blog too).
You might, from time to time, see editorials and/or letters to the editor in your local paper. When the paper publishes such things that deny the reality, the human cause, or the danger of climate change, respond. Write a letter to the editor yourself. Even if it’s not in response to denial, write a letter to the editor expressing your concern and the need for our politicians to get straight about it. Do so often.
Check your local ordinances about all things environmental, especially those which discourage energy efficiency or independence. When any body makes it illegal to put solar on your rooftop or collect your own rainwater, tell ’em in no uncertain terms how immoral that it.
Here’s an important one my wife thought of: ask your local school board whether climate science is being taught in the schools. Ask them what is being taught. If it doesn’t satisfy you — either because it’s being ignored or spreading denier crap — make a fuss. A big fuss.
As much as you can do — and you can do a lot — your friends and family and neighbors can do a lot too. Motivate the people you know who might be willing to help. You don’t have to convert them into activists, but every one of them you can convince to write a letter to the editor of the paper, or to a congresscritter, will be a big part of getting our government out of the denier camp and into the useful camp. You might be amazed how much you can influence the people around you.
You might be amazed how much you can influence the people around you, just by talking about it. You don’t want to turn into one of those people who won’t talk about anything else, or who becomes tiresome. But when the issue comes up, speak the truth. When anyone — co-worker, preacher, drunk uncle — spews denier crap, tell them in the most polite and friendly but uncertain terms, that the truth is otherwise, and that denial like they’re spreading is going to cost … cost money, cost jobs, cost lives.
I’ll end by emphasizing what might be most important, which is what I talked about first: vote. Vote based on the climate change issue. Make it the #1 issue when you get in the voting booth.
Do share, in the comments, your own ideas. Let us know what has worked for you, and what hasn’t.
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