To be honest with you, I needed to take a step back. After seeing the report from the UN by IPCC, I needed to spend some time grounding myself.
If you’re not familiar with the report, basically a whole bunch of scientists got together and concluded we have 12 years before we’re going to see lasting, catastrophic damage due to the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
You can see the report here.
This report gave me pause. I felt helpless, alone, and scared. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough – like it was NEVER going to be enough.
And, that’s the thing about articles and studies like that… EVERYONE FEELS HOPELESS AFTER READING IT.
So I’ve written out my fool proof way for getting yourself out of this funk, and harnessing all that awesome power that you, yes you an individual, have!
step one: realize you’re not alone
You are not alone.
You are not alone.
You are not alone.
Articles like this do a great job of isolating us. It makes us look at our close friends and family that we don’t consider to be on our “eco level” and wonder, “If they’re not on board, how is anything ever going to improve!?”
Speaking of which, check out this post if you’re dealing with judgmental friends and family.
But, the fact of the matter is that you’re not alone. There are TONS of people, groups, and organizations that are all working towards change.
step two: combat loneliness
One of the best ways to combat this loneliness is to seek out like minded people, and intentionally seek out positive news.
Check out this post if you’re looking for tips on finding a local like minded community.
I am a positive person, who’s built a positive platform. One of my tag lines is ‘Breaking zero waste living down into a simple step-by-step process with lots of positivity and love!”
But, even I felt lonely when reading this article.
One of the things I do to maintain positivity is intentionally seeking out positive news. I make sure that I’m following accounts on social media that have a positive and uplifting take on what’s happening.
It is easy to be sad, defeatist, and negative. It takes courage to be strong and positive in the face of adversity, and it is the ONLY way we’re going to turn this ship around.
We need positive and energetic change because positivity is infectious. People want a dose of that. People want to be around people that make them feel good.
step three: be an encourager
When the pressure hits, you can start being hyper critical of what everyone in your life is doing. Step back and instead of nagging about what they don’t do… lavish praise on what they do.
Humans are animals. We love positive reinforcement. So positively reinforce their good, eco friendly habits. I promise you it totally works!!
So, now that we know how to combat negative news and be a shining beacon in our communities…. let’s get down to fighting climate change!
I’ve said it a million times, but there are four pieces to this puzzle.
- individual action
- groups and organizations
- political action
All four pieces of this puzzle HAVE to be moving at the SAME TIME.
We cannot create long, lasting and impactful change without ALL OF THEM. Do you see my all caps?
This is in reference to the fact that people think individual action doesn’t matter at all. Yes, 71% of all global emissions are being created by 100 companies.
But, that doesn’t mean our actions aren’t equally important. Most people don’t know that there’s a problem. Let alone that they’re connected to the problem.
Businesses and politicians react to the will of the people.
When I was speaking at the Zero Waste Youth Conference, someone speaking from Californian’s Against Waste said, “Citizens must first act so policy can react.”
This applies 100% to businesses too.
Citizens have to act. We have to show government and business that this is what we want. OBVIOUSLY I’m not saying that businesses are blameless, but we as individuals absolutely have a part to play.
We have to urge them to act. We have to fight for policy changes. Individual action is where it all starts!
I will briefly discuss each of the four ways but for a more in depth look at each one, please watch the video at the bottom of the page.
1. individual action:
This is where it all begins. I have hundreds of blog posts to help you live your values in your daily life. Check out my going zero waste beginners tab for more ideas.
2. community activism:
Once you’ve mastered living a more eco-friendly life, it’s time to take that message outside of yourself. Get your community involved like through a clean up or writing businesses about their packaging.
3. political action:
The more you get involved, the easier it is to find like minded community. With that community you can go to your city council, petition, craft legislation. Check out my guide to getting involved in local government.
Set reminders on your calendar to get in touch with your representatives, and consider joining the Citizen’s Climate Lobby which advocates for a carbon tax.
I’ve been a member for almost two years. Not only does it help connect you with a local community, it also helps connect you to your representatives.
4. groups and organizations:
Then make sure that you’re supporting groups and organizations. There are so many organizations doing amazing work which also help to influence policy. With your donations they can create amazing lasting change.
Here are several of the organizations I support, that you might want to consider supporting and donating to as well.
- Earth Justice
- Rainforest Alliance
- Sierra Club
- World Wildlife Foundation
- Environmental Defense Fund
My hope is that after reading this article and watching the video below, you feel incredibly empowered. I hope you realize how much change you can create as an individual!
Please, let me know if you have any questions on getting involved or if there are areas you’d like to see me expound on in new videos or blog posts.