What you can do to take action for Climate Change
100 ways to take action
TO ALL CLIMATE CHANGE WARRIORS
Today is Earth Day. It is a day of wonderment, of appreciation of what we have been given and of what we are a part of. Mother Earth (Nahasdzáán) is so amazingly beautiful, with her oceans, mountains, deserts, rivers, sunsets, and riches, that contemplating the splendor will put us in a state of ecstasy — we could spend the day reveling. However, in 2019, we must reflect, take stock, and realize that we humans — along with many other species — are in a crisis. If we listen and pay attention, we will understand that Mother Nature is speaking to us, and the message is fraught with warnings.
We have a responsibility to take action. As consumers of goods, resources, oil, gas, and energy, and as part of Nature, we can give back to Mother Earth what we have taken. We have too long asked our governments, our producers, the IPCC, and the Paris Accord to take action, without taking individual responsibility ourselves. Yes, we need the government and corporations to accept their role, but Mother Earth also needs us as active participants and agents of change.
We have 15.4 billion hands in the world. If we can mobilize just 10 percent of these hands (1.54 billion) to do something for Mother Earth, we can make a difference.
Dealing with climate change will require:
1. Basic Knowledge … #Infoclimatechange
2. Specific actions we can do on a daily basis … #Action
3. Changing ourselves to make the transformation happen ... #Becomethechange
To get us started, I will offer 100 things in 100 days that will address these three essential areas. I invite you to join me, add to the 100 items, and to make change happen! Taking action will generate hope, lead to better solutions, and create a better world.
Moving forward will mean doing everything we can to slow the impact of climate change. We will also need to adapt to what we cannot change. In many ways, climate change has exceeded our capacity to change its course. There is already too much CO2 and too much ocean acidification, and we cannot arrest the ice melt of Antarctica or Greenland. Nevertheless, we can still have some effect and we need to take action to slow the process.
We also need to adapt to the coming changes. Resilience and adapting to a new world are required. We need not try to hold on to what we have, but instead need to forge ahead and create a new world order — virtually a world that we cannot yet imagine.
Indigenous peoples have maintained sustainable practices, living within Mother Nature’s ability to provide for thousands of years. Their knowledge can provide guidance to take action. Religions and spirituality can give us guidance; science provides other answers, and our inherent knowledge can guide us, as well. We have expertise in renewable resources, alternative economic systems, and renewable energy. We know multiple ways to connect with Mother Nature. We can help people accept and manage change, deal with trauma and depression, and create a win-win for us and for nature.
This is a call to action. For those who are uncertain on how to start, we commit to providing 100 ways that each of us can proceed. We will post one every day on Twitter @envgroundswell and on Instagram @groundswellbook. Join us at www.envisionthebigpicture.com for the entire list, pass this call to action to others, and support our youth by connecting with Greta Thunberg@GretaThunberg and following #fridaysforfuture and #schoolstrike4climate.
Being informed is essential to taking action. It motivates, allows for conversations, and gives direction. This section will give highlights and one reference per post.
1. Half of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is dead. The massive die-off happened in just two years, 2016 and 2017, due to warming oceans. Fish stocks will decline as a result, and a variety of species will die. Source: National Geographic
2. Ice loss in Antarctica is happening way faster than we would have predicted and has reached 250 billion tons per year. That’s six times more ice melt than in previous decades. Source: Smithsonian
3. The Greenland ice sheet is melting at an astonishing rate, causing an alarming rise in sea levels. Why? Greenland’s ice sheet is land-based, the type that adds to sea volume when it thaws. Source: Live Science
4. Sea level rise is accelerating, posing risks to Miami, Mumbai, Bangladesh, and our other coastal neighbors around the world. Bigger storms also increase the risk of disastrous flooding. Source: NASA
5. Extreme weather events are increasing, like the 2017 rains in Houston: more than 50 inches fell in less than a week. Source: Grist.org
6. Global temperature rise is making many cities uninhabitable during the summer. It is also making oceans so warm that some coral reefs are not surviving. Source: NASA
7. The global temperature rise is creating new deserts and extending others. The high temperatures — an effect of climate change — will create more uninhabitable land and lead to climate refugees. Source: U.N.
8. One million species are threatened with extinction by 2050, according to a recent UN report. It is the most comprehensive and devastating report on the “sixth extinction.” https://www.ipbes.net/news/ipbes-global-assessment-summary-policymakers-pdf We run the risk of ecological collapse and massive impacts on humanity, including decreased food production due to vast tracts of unproductive land and ocean.
9. Coral reefs are home to and support thousands of species of ocean plants and animals. Warming oceans are killing not only the Great Barrier Reef in Australia but also the reefs in Florida and Caribbean waters. Their demise will have catastrophic effects on thousands of ocean species. www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/08/explore-atlas-great-barrier-reef-coral-bleaching-map-climate-change
10. Global warming is causing a devastating rise in ocean temperatures. The warmer water encourages the growth of dangerous algae such as the toxic red tide. Manatees and numerous other animals are dying by the hundreds in Florida due to the algae. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/13/florida-gulf-coast-red-tide-toxic-algae-bloom-killing-florida-wildlife
11. Extreme weather events have increased dramatically over the past 10 years. They not only cause devastation to land, crops, and homes, but also create psychiatric disorders, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and insomnia. (American Psychiatric Association Caucus on Mental Health and Climate Change, https://www.climatepsychiatry.org/psychic-impacts)
12. Extreme heat due to climate change has been shown to increase the number of homicides and suicides. https://ecoamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/eA_Beyond_Storms_and_Droughts_Psych_Impacts_of_Climate_Change.pdf
13. Diseases are moving north. Most people know about Zika virus moving north, for example. But a deer-tick pathogen that causes Lyme disease is now in eastern Canada, where it was previously nonexistent. This movement north will continue as long as we have a warming climate.
14. Eco-anxiety or climate anxiety is a new concern for psychiatrists and their patients. As a psychiatrist, I see more of this in my practice. Treatment involves finding ways to take action and decrease worry; decreasing reactivity through coherent breathing and meditation; and finding ways to become part of the solution.
15. Today, more people in Canada and the U.S. believe that climate change is occurring than people who do not. The next stage in change is the decision to take action. Moving to that stage will have an impact and will create a groundswell within our lives, personally and politically.
16. Heat waves in Europe today are breaking records, with high temperatures in Paris, France, exceeding 104 degrees Fahrenheit. [CBC News, July 24, 2019]
17. Commit to planting: All plants sequester carbon, so the more you plant, the better. The Amazon rainforest is essential to the Earth’s health for that reason. But planting grasses, prairie plants, trees, and boulevard plantings all can make a difference.
18. Buy local: Everything we grow locally to eat locally saves transportation costs and reduces CO2 production.
19. Commit to using 30 percent less of everything, be it toilet paper, shampoo, or dish soap. Everything we make and use has an energy cost, owing to manufacturing, packaging, shipping, and disposal. Use as little as possible to get the job done. Everything conserved cuts our carbon footprint.
20. Commit to conserving water. There are many reasons to conserve water, and energy savings is an important one. Water treatment plants and water pumping use large amounts of energy. And heating water has huge energy requirements. How often do you use hot water when cold water will do? Could you take a shorter shower to decrease hot water use? (No, we won’t suggest a cold shower.) Conserving water whenever possible would save tremendous energy costs.
21. Don’t buy a truck unless you absolutely need one, and then buy the smallest one you can. If you live in a remote location with dirt roads, do you really need the 2500 horsepower (will the 1500 work instead)? Can you rent a truck a few times a year for the big garbage hauls to the dump?
22. The next time you purchase a car, make it an electric car. Try using the electric car to carpool to work and for short trips. Use your gas vehicle for the longer drives (if you happen to hold onto it).
23. Instead of buying a minivan, buy a small car or a hybrid. Minivans have much larger carbon footprints than smaller vehicles, many of which hold five passengers. And hybrids have some of the smallest footprints around.
24. Ride a bike. (It can be electric or motorized, too.)
25. Downsize: Build smaller houses that are carbon neutral.
26. Go solar: Solar electric and solar hot water systems go a long way toward reducing the use of carbon-based fuels.
27. Small houses are beautiful. If you need larger space for things like family gatherings once a year, rent a space.
28. Need a spare bedroom? Instead of building or buying a big house, use a convertible couch in a room you already have. Use a sheet or a folding screen for privacy.
29. Turn the lights out when you don’t need them. Practice, get support, and get everyone in the household to remind each other.
30. Wear clothes longer. Let’s make the frayed/used look the new fashion statement.
31. Get a carbon footprint assessment. Use the free online calculators from the EPA < https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/> or Global Footprint Network < https://www.footprintnetwork.org/resources/footprint-calculator/>. Once you know your footprint, make a commitment to offset it.
32. New agricultural areas are emerging. Share knowledge about what new crops will be viable and what is best to grow. Create local markets for new products.
33. Find educational support for climate change. Numerous nonprofits are leading the way, including Alliance for Climate Education, https://acespace.org/. Use the knowledge you obtain: Share it with family, friends, students, and others. And don’t forget to donate! Nonprofit organizations rely on donations to survive.
35. Join a faith-based group that’s dedicated to reversing climate change. Among the possibilities: Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, https://www.yecaction.org; Green Faith, https://greenfaith.org; or Jewish Climate Action Network, https://www.jewishclimate.org.
37. Volunteer to do trail maintenance for running, hiking, and cross-country ski trails — it will connect you and others to nature. And the work has a wonderfully low carbon footprint.
38. Change your plans for a driving holiday: Take a hiking, biking, and camping holiday instead.
39. Become a master gardener. Take classes online (at places like Oregon State University, https://pace.oregonstate.edu/catalog/master-gardener-short-course-series) or at your local community college.
40. Become an expert in a particular aspect of climate change. Key topics include: coral reefs, the Sixth Extinction, economic impacts, saltwater agriculture, and the reduction of carbon footprints. And don’t forget to share your knowledge!
41. Support young people. Develop a talk on climate change and offer it to children. Go on outings with children and support local teachers in doing the same.
42. Climate change produces trauma, due to food insecurity, floods, lightning, hail, tornados, heatwaves, and other events. Find ways to support people who have been affected; remember to take care of yourself, as well.
43. The Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) created by catastrophic climate events is treatable with a therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Yoga, coherent breathing, and the N’daa Navajo healing ceremony can also relieve trauma. Seek out and direct others to these healing methods when appropriate.
44. Shun things that worsen climate change. Avoid pesticides, herbicides, polluting, creating garbage or waste, or burning things (such as coal and wood).
45. Refurbish, refurnish, refinish, and buy used whenever possible. If you need new wheels, buy a hybrid, an electric car, or a vehicle with better gas mileage than the old one.
46. Read books and articles on climate change — and be cautious about misinformation.
47. Growing food to feed 7.7 billion people today and over 8 billion tomorrow will require our collective efforts. Growing food and sharing with our neighbors will be one small step toward food security.
48. Support the empowerment of women and the feminine: It can lead to more compassionate government, better care of our children, reduced military aggression, and a more stable population (with 2.1 births per couple). All these things can reduce climate change.
49. Walk softly on the Earth. Enhance the growth of all plants and let nature find its balance.
50. Bison herds support natural prairie growth — so do antelope, deer, and elk. Help them survive by supporting wildlife corridors. Large tracts of open land — even within cities — provide space for animals, create carbon sequestration, and allow humans to enjoy nature.
51. Create wetlands. We have lost large chunks of our wetlands, both small and large. They need to be refurbished in order to decrease the rate of extinction.
52. Find ways to support nature in coastal areas. Many coastal areas are converting from freshwater estuaries to saltwater estuaries, due to climate change.
53. Explore new agricultural opportunities in northern climates where growing seasons are extended. But do so by enhancing diversity at the same time.
54. Delve deeper into action — and become self-sustaining. Learn to propagate seeds; to grow, harvest, and preserve food; and to protect plants exposed to extremes in weather.
55. Excessive packaging is out of control! Bring your own containers with you whenever possible. Use glass or metal water bottles, not plastic bottles; avoid excessive plastic wrap when buying flowers; buy from bins and use your own glass containers from home when buying nuts, flour, sugar, seeds grains, etc. Use compostable packaging instead of recycled. Shop in stores where packaging is minimal.
56. Other questions to ask: Can we expand aquaculture and aquatic reserves at the same time?
57. Can we have areas of silence where only nature speaks?
58. Can we create corridors that separate humans from sensitive ecosystems — and make nature the priority?
59. Decrease the footprints of roads and driveways. Use permeable gravel — and let plants grow in the median. Reduce the use of cement and paving: Make building envelopes as small as possible. Create more — not less — natural growing space.
60. Eating animal products is not as healthy as eating the plant protein found in nuts seeds, beans, and peas. Beef has a bigger carbon footprint. Save the planet and prolong your life: Eat beef only once a month (if you must).
61. Create nutritious soil: Start by composting organic products and mixing them with poor soil. Let this sit outside for a year, then add it to you garden.
62. Plant 100 trees — or one or two. Every little bit helps. Trees reduce stress and help asthma, as well as nature. If you need help, find someone who has land to plant on; join the Arbor Day Foundation blog https://arbordayblog.org; or buy and find a place to plant one tree.
63. Introduce your children, grandchildren, and neighbors’ children to trees by teaching them how to climb safely and also avoid injuring the tree. It will help them connect with and appreciate nature and all its gifts.
64. Respect wild animals — and keep them wild. Wildlife fosters a healthy ecosystem and encourages carbon sequestration. Bears should never be fed human food! In the wild, they forage and eat fish, and their poop fertilizes trees and promotes growth. In short: do not feed bears when traveling in the national parks this summer.
65. Car pool — it’s even better if you use an all-electric car.
66. At work, “adopt a policy to turn off lights, computers, monitors, fax machines, copiers and printers at night, and set computers to sleep mode if they must stay on,” according to mygreendoctor.org.
67. Take political action. Write to lawmakers and ask them to support climate change legislation. Contact members of congress, governors, mayors, city council members — anybody and everybody. If possible, be specific about one particular action you’d like them to take.
68. Declutter your car: carrying less around will reduce the weight and save fuel.
69. Recycling is valuable, but I would ask you to go one step further: Purchase items that do not require recycling. And, of course, if you buy things that do require it, recycle them.
70. Dress warmer in winter. That way, you can get into a cold car and only need to start the car to drive, not to warm it up. Keep the thermostat at 68 degrees F. or cooler.
71. Use poop. Cattle, horse, and sheep manure greatly enriches soil. Clean your neighbors’ horse stall — they will thank you and often will give you manure to help grow your garden. And gardening helps with carbon sequestration.
72. Convert outdoor barbecues to solar stoves and solar ovens. Enjoy cooking outside, knowing that it’s free of CO2 production.
73. Support green journals: Excellent journals exist that support taking action to fight the climate crisis. They need our support for readership, advertising, donations, and contributions. One excellent paper it the Green Fire Times at GREENFIRETIMES.COM
74. Be Careful when you’re talking about the climate crisis. All of us belong to different groups with different concerns. Although many of us are staunch conservationists, others might not be — but they still might care about nature and adverse weather events, and they might take action to deal with climate issues. Speaking diplomatically can help us come together to make meaningful change.
75. Connect with young people: they will be carrying the biggest burdens from the climate crisis. Give them a voice by supporting poetry slams, articles, T-shirts, rap, and art, which can add energy to making needed change.
76. Obtain information on climate change so you can discuss it, make informed decisions, and develop your own direction in taking action.
77. Create self-awareness: Ask yourself what is getting in your way of making decisions and acting.
78. Overcome rigidity so that you can embrace new ideas and the demands necessary to both deal with climate change and move toward resilience and adaptation.
79. Meditate on compassion and join with others: Collectively we can deal with the changes by supporting each other.
80. Expand our concepts of being a neighbor. A broad definition of neighbor is “one impacted by something we do.” The U.S. and Canada together create more greenhouse gas per person than any other developed country in the world. We affect the low-lying South Sea Islands. They, and all others, are our neighbors.
81. Explore other economic systems, including a gifting economy. A gifting economy is one where resources can be shared amongst members within a community. Consider how we can develop a gifting economy, especially one that involves local food and shelter. Being open to the idea of a gifting economy will create awareness and opportunity.
82.Explore your own value system. Is bigger better? Do we value things more than love and compassion?
83. Explore how to connect with nature. Indigenous peoples do so with stories, ceremony, language, and by spending time being in and honoring nature. Consider what works for you and your family in connecting with nature.
84. Ask who has the right to take resources from Mother Earth? Find ways to share these resources among all sentient beings and all aspects of nature.
85. Appreciate the value of large tracts of land and ocean that are left untouched and natural. Nature does amazing work in sequestering carbon and generating diversity.
86. Appreciate the challenges and opportunity that dealing with climate change affords and choose action over nihilism.
87. Deal with your anxiety and trauma, as these are huge obstacles to making change and taking action. Excellent treatments are available. www.mindicine.com.
88. Love Mother Earth and have compassion for each other, for other beings, and for all of nature; see yourself as one small part of the whole. It will guide all of us in getting through this crisis.
89. Think about shrinking and reshaping the economy. Ask these questions: What should shrink? What should expand? Can we expand education? Can we expand ways to connect with nature? Can we decrease oil and coal production and thus our carbon footprint?
90. Make harmony a priority as an alternative to an extraction economy.
91. Consider the cost of an action as only one variable: The other considerations are waste, carbon footprints, and short-term vs. long-term costs to the environment.
92. Accept that coal, oil, methane are off limits. Accepting this now instead of later — and beginning the process of eliminating these products and their uses from our lives — will start the inevitable process of becoming free of these energy sources.
93. Connecting with nature is one of the most important things we can do to become aware and sensitive to our environment. Do a contemplative meditation on all the ways nature can be manifested, from breathing to a walk in the park, viewing a sunset, camping, or watching a bee pollinate a flower. Explore another 1,00 ways on your own.
94. Art and aesthetics inform us in ways that the written word cannot. Surround yourself with art that reflects Mother Earth, that represents nature, that features Indigenous art, and that connects us to nature.
95. Become the Green representative and the voice for whatever political party you belong to. Your voice and others will move us in the direction we need.
96. Be a change facilitator. Think of change as opportunity. Be prepared to take the change imposed on us and find a new, better direction. Brainstorm with friends and family on how to move forward, not only as we adapt but also in a spiritual, compassionate way with other sentient beings within nature.
97. Contemplate nature, starting with bacteria, one of the first forms of life. The bacteria in our gut biome has more genetic material than in the rest of our body. Bacteria is an essential aspect of healthy soil. Bacterial enzymes are powerful enough to break down plastic.
98. Tone it down. I have to admit when I’m talking about the climate crisis I get “too emotional”, “too assertive,” “too opinionated,” or whatever the label might be. When talking about climate issues give your friends time to catch up with you, speak softly, and listen to their comments, many of which will have significant merit. Remember to be compassionate and express your concerns. Finding the balance is the trick.
99. The last stage of change is to maintain your changes. I would invite you to evaluate your progress for the purpose of maintaining your success. I would add one more stage of change: Redirection. Our knowledge and social needs are changing quickly; where we start will not be where we finish. Being open to change and redirection will give us a better chance of modifying and adapting to the climate crisis.
100. Watch a documentary and listen to people with expertise on the Climate Crisis. Try our website www.envisionthebigpicture.com Watch the documentary “Envision the Big Picture” and let the speakers and scenery of nature speak to and inform you. Take some time to contemplate and explore your decisions about taking action.
We look forward to your suggestions and would like to post them as well. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
~Walk in Beauty~
Joe Neidhardt Mary Roessel