What Individuals Can Do To Prevent Climate Change: Online and IRL
Almost all of us know how it feels to read a news article about climate change and its harrowing impact on our planet, and feel a sense of helplessness. We know that climate change is steadily damaging our environment and could potentially put the lives of our future generations at huge risk. What we don’t exactly know is how we can fruitfully contribute to the climate change movement.
There are different levels of contribution when it comes to preventing climate change. Some of us just do the bare minimum of switching off lights and taps and separating trash, while some of us might take it a step further and follow whatever recent eco-trend is going on, like abstaining from using plastic straws or containers. While the majority comprises people in the ‘bare minimum’ spectrum, there are also some who try to ensure every choice they make is motivated by climate change. The ‘Greta Thunberg’ category of people have devoted their lives to offsetting their carbon emissions and ensuring they do more good than harm to the planet through their actions.
There have been numerous arguments in recent times that individual choices can only do so much to fight climate change and that carbon barons and policy makers are the ones that have the power to cause large-scale impact . There have been multiple studies and articles that believe that the recent obsession with policing individual actions has led to massive carbon polluters and legislators being let off the hook, that the big players have absolved themselves while the civil society bickers about their choices and practices.
It is true that voluntary individual action alone is insufficient to the climate change movement, but the personal action versus political action binary is unhelpful. The environmental movement needs to find a sustainable way to do both: agitate and organize for systemic change while also still encouraging individual behavior changes. While we can’t all be Greta, our practices do need to be evaluated through a green lens to see if there’s more we can do to help prevent environmental degradation.
Voluntary changes in our ‘environmentally bad’ practices not only make a small dent on the carbon emissions, they also signal to people and society around us that the climate change is real and that we should all agitate for political change. But what can we do? How can we alter our lifestyle in a sustainable and reasonable manner in order to ‘do our bit’ for the planet?
Driving and flying less, and switching to greener alternatives when it comes to energy providers is a step that is usually easy to do for us. Changing our eating habits to make sure the food we eat has contributed to less carbon emissions is also a step many activists have taken. THe cattle industry contributes heavily to global warming , and if enough people decide to move away from it, the industry is more likely to reevaluate their carbon emissions and practices.
We can also take this fight online, one very important and effective step we can take is to put pressure on our governments and on companies to make the system-wide changes that are needed. This can be done through raising awareness, raising funds for organisations that are fighting climate change or signing and sharing petitions that put pressure on governments to enact greener policies.