Rosaly Byrd, sustainability author and co-founder of an educational blog that connects global issues with societal needs, puts the climate change challenge simply: “We live in a time where our collective action today will have irreversible effects on several generations to come.”
Collective climate change action is important, and nowhere is this more visible than in higher ed, where students have influenced Aramark’s new vegan focus and universities are increasingly using their collective buying power to go green. Let’s not forget that individual actions, too, are crucial to making climate change progress. Ms. Byrd shares four ways that individuals can take action to drive climate solutions:
1. Remember that individual actions make a difference, and let this guide your decisions. For example, try to walk more often, or unplug electrical devices when not in use.
2. Exercise your power through the vote and support legislators who support climate change progress.
3. Get involved and spread awareness. This can mean joining a local community group, or just talking to friends and family about what’s going on in our world.
4. Use your buying power to send a message. If consumers ask that companies become more environmentally and socially responsible, companies will respond.
After our last two posts that outlined ways climate change will affect our daily livesand favorite outdoor sports, we hope the realities of climate change has hit home.
However, it is vital to remember that climate change is both a local and global issue that will affect different regions and people disproportionately. The poor and vulnerable will be (and already are) the most devastatingly affected by climate change, even though, historically, developing countries have not been big emitters of greenhouse gas emissions.
By addressing climate change and remembering how it fits into the big picture, we can help ensure that people around the world, and our children and grandchildren, are able to enjoy the activities and the life that we have enjoyed up until now.
THE 7 BILLION OTHER PEOPLE ON THE PLANET: There are numerous ways that climate change will negatively affect the daily lives of people in the developed world. But climate change will have an even larger impact on the world's vulnerable, poverty stricken populations. The World Bank recently released a report stating that climate change could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030. Another study published in March of this year demonstrates how the Syrian civil war was partially triggered by a severe drought, worsened by climate change. In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded) devastated the island nation of the Philippines, displacing 4.4 million people and leaving more than 6,000 dead. Hurricane Patricia, a tropical hurricane comparable in strength to Haiyan before landfall and the most powerful ever measured in the Western Hemisphere, made landfall in late October 2015 on Mexico's Pacific coast. Fortunately thousands of people evacuated from the region, and the hurricane, which had dramatically weakened once it reached Mexico's rugged terrain, hit a sparsely-populated area, but many were expecting colossal damage. Climate change will also be disastrous to inhabitants of low-lying islands and those that do not have enough capital to adapt. A tremendous loss of biodiversity will also take place with changing climates, giving us yet one more reason to care about climate change.