“The biggest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”-Robert Swan
Polar explorer, Robert Swan, hit the problem on the nose. The reason we are losing the fight against climate change is complacency, pure and simple. We think it’s not our problem, not our responsibility, or, worst of all, we think nothing we do will make a difference.
You may not know how to fight climate change, but you should at least know that you can make a difference.
How can I help with climate change?
Learn the facts.
Read up on the latest climate news. Learn what can be recycled and what can’t. If you think there is no problem, I challenge you to write down why you think that’s true. Then see if you can find facts and proof in support of, or against, your belief. (And share them below!)
I once took a simple geography class, where I learned that the temperature of the ocean affects the climate in severe ways. Warm ocean surface water can spin up a hurricane, for example. So if you think the ocean getting warmer isn’t a problem … keep an eye on hurricane season this year.
Of course, if you’ve read this far, you’re probably not a climate change denier. Maybe you’re just thinking, “I get it, but what can I do?“
Before you can make a change, you need to understand what needs changing, and you need to believe that you can indeed change.
Look around your home, especially in the kitchen and bath, what do you see? Is it a lot of disposable and single-use products? Are the cleaners full of chemicals?
Next, look at your shopping habits. Do you buy a replacement when something you own shows any sign of wear, or do you make things last as long as possible? Do you shop thrifts stores and garage sales, or will only the newest do for you?
Finally, look at your eating habits. Do you always eat out? Do you get a straw with every drink? Have you ever thought to say, “no thank you,” when the server offers a straw? Do you eat meat at every meal?
Take inventory of your living and shopping habits. There is plenty to think about, but the questions above are a great place to begin.
Now that you know the facts and you’ve assessed yourself and your living habits. It’s time to do something that will impact the world for the better.
After your self-reflection activities, what one or two things bothered you the most about your habits?
What can you do to change those one or two things?
Maybe it’s switching to shampoo bars or cutting back on take-out. Maybe you can repair something, rather than replacing it.
Start small with changes you believe must and can be made. These first steps are key. Making changes that you can live with, and setting goals you can live up to, will lead to better habits and greater changes in the future.
Adapt to your new lifestyle.
They say it takes 21 days to build a habit. Now that you’ve picked one or two changes you can make, dedicate yourself to just those for a month. If you feel intimidated, start with just one.
Let’s say you decided to cut single-use plastic straws from your “diet,” spend the next month reminding yourself to say, “no thank you,” at restaurants. Sometimes you’ll forget, and sometimes they won’t ask you before just putting one in your drink. Don’t beat yourself up over these slips. This is a really hard habit to break, trust me, I’ve done it. Just keep reminding yourself and do better every day until you get there.
Maybe you decided you buy too many new clothes. Start your new habit by researching and bookmarking different sites that resell clothes, like, eBay or ThredUp. (I love ThredUp!) Then, next time you’re ready to shopping, go straight to those sites. Saw something at the store that you simply must have? Great! Search for it by name on these sites and see what comes up … you might just save yourself a bundle.
Everyone can make a difference, you just need to start with why you want to make a change. Then understand what change needs to be made. And finally, make the change. You can help fight climate change. You can save the world. As Nike would say, just do it.
I hope I’ve inspired you to take stock of your habits and make some improvements. But I know there are a million possibilities of how you can do this. Post below to share the changes you’ve made and how you did it.