Climate Change: You Can Make A Difference

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi

 

Earlier this month, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released studies showing that we have only twelve years to make significant changes to our energy infrastructure before the damage we do to our Earth is irreversible.

Like others around me, this news troubled me.  My first thought was, “How can I change the world?”

You Can Make a Difference

Changing the world by yourself is an incredibly daunting (and impossible) task,  so you start with yourself.  Living and doing what aligns with your values will spark awareness and inspire people around you.

What could you do to make a difference?

Living a zero waste life is a great start! Using the 5 “R’s” is an easy guideline to zero waste.

  • Refuse

  • Reduce

  • Reuse

  • Rot

  • Recycle

Just remember that it’s not perfect since we live in a linear production economy rather than a circular production economy.

When I was traveling around Bulgaria, a fellow traveler and I went grocery shopping.  She noticed that I brought my produce bags and that inspired her to get her own so she too can help reduce plastic waste.

I didn’t force my values or ideas on her, and I was doing what I thought was important in my life – living a zero waste life as best as I can.

It’s great when you can make a difference outside your home country. That friend will inspire others also, thus creating a chain reaction of spread awareness and inspiration to reduce what we put in our landfill.

 

Make a Difference – Bigger Impact

In Australia, there is a  “Clean up Australia Day.”  I recommend not to start a project this big because it takes years to get it to that size.

Start small – with your town

Here are some ideas of how you can start small:

  • Get a group of friends together for a hike or walk and pick up trash along the way

  • Host a zero-waste picnic with friends.  It’s a fun way to get together and a good challenge for everyone to avoid single-use plastics.

  • If you’re in a group (i.e., Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Young Professional Network, etc.), put together a once a month event to clean up a part of your town.

  • If you happen to chat with a local business who is interested in zero waste, don’t be afraid to ask if they would like suggestions on how to cut down their business waste or make it more sustainable.  And invite them to a “clean-up” event too!

What you do makes a difference

I don’t believe in forcing my ideas and values on my friends, family, or people I meet.  When you push your opinions on people, it may not be well received.

It’s much easier to spark curiosity when you refuse straws, bring your containers to store, or ask a barista to put coffee in the mug you brought.  Hosting a cleanup day can bring awareness to the community.

Altogether, we can make a huge impact. Earth Day is a great day, but once a year of caring for the earth won’t help reduce our carbon footprint quickly.

We need to start changing how we treat the planet today and continue to care for it every single day.