How to be An Active Participant in The Fight Against Climate Change
Mar 23, 2023
Within the last few decades, climate change has become a prominent issue within society. It is difficult to go for a period of time without hearing the effects of climate change discussed. This summer alone, news of the never seen before heatwave that has hit Europe was hard to avoid. When it comes to climate change, young people have the most at stake so it is understandable that the seemingly inevitable doom of the planet is the cause of anxiety for many. One method that youths have found to soothe their eco-anxiety is by taking action against climate change. However, many are already taking actions in their everyday life such as composting or using reusable straws, and while these things are important, there are ways that you can make an impact on an even bigger level.
1. Get involved with non-profits
Getting directly involved in the climate movement is one of the most effective ways to take action. There are many organizations that are fighting climate change and in various sectors. The Gaia Project, for example, approaches the issue through education. There are organizations that focus on restoring the forest and combating climate change such as Community Forests International while others might focus on water like The Nashwaak Watershed Association. You can look through their websites for opportunities to get involved or even reach out to them directly! A list of other great environmental organizations located in New Brunswick can be found here.
2. Change your diet
Shifting towards a more climate-friendly diet would make a great difference in reducing your personal carbon footprint. It is a fact that the agricultural industry is one of the top greenhouse gas emitters, making it one of the primary drivers of climate change. According to Scientific American, roughly 40% of greenhouse gas emission comes from agriculture, deforestation and other land-use changes, so changing your diet is an incredibly powerful thing that you can do. In fact, if the cattle industry was its own nation, it would the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emission behind China and the United States. Meat, (beef in particular), drives climate change due to its emission of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. At the same time, the agricultural sector is also destroying forests as they are converted for grazing land. Beef production requires 28 times more land, 6 times more fertilizer and 11 times more water than pork or chicken. By incorporating more local and plant-based meals into your diet, you’re making a contribution towards a healthier planet. You can always take the first step by reducing your beef consumption!
3. Advocate for a healthier climate
A great way to get more involved and take action on climate change is to speak up and advocate for better environmental policies and laws. Some of the world’s largest corperations are the main contributors to the climate crisis. In fact, just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions as written in the Carbon Majors Database. The organization was established in 2013 by Richard Heede of the Climate Accountability Institute. It was created in order to show how emissions are linked to the largest companies and corporations. The best way to get large cooperations to acknowledge their impact on the planet and actually make sustainable changes is through laws, policies and public awareness. You can send a letter to your elected representatives to let them know where you stand on issues relating to sustainability and environmental legislation. By supporting environmental leaders and influencers within your community and region, you can effectively approach the issues of environmentalism and justice.
4. Join The Gaia Project’s Youth Climate Leadership Network program
While the climate crisis affects the whole planet, there are ways that every young person can help their community mitigate and adapt to climate issues. The Gaia Project’s Youth Climate Leadership Network program is meant for youths that are passionate about justice, equality and the environment. Our goal is to bring together like-minded students to work together and advance climate action, which includes the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This will all be done by students who will drive change within their community while earning course credits. You can learn more about the program or register for the Youth Climate Leadership Network program here, or reach out to a member of the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Use your voice!
Your voice can be extremely powerful and engaging in conversations relating to the environment is a fantastic way to make a difference! As a person who is knowledgeable and passionate about the environment, you can be a great source of information. You can educate friends and family and help to open their minds and become more environmentally conscious in their everyday lives. When having these conversations, it can be intimidating and difficult to make it constructive and informative so here are some tips from the World Economic Forum to keep the conversation on track. First, approach the topic by connecting it to changes that are already happening such as hotter summers, more frequent extreme weather events. By making the connections personal, it will potentially motivate people to act. One of the most effective ways to get people to act is by giving them some practical and simple actions they could start with.
It’s not exactly easy to live a sustainable lifestyle, and it’s not made easier when you can’t see your actions making a difference. But it’s important to remember that taking steps (even small steps!) towards reducing your carbon footprint is beneficial. While you might be taking small actions to help make a positive climate impact, there are millions of people that are aspiring to do the same and together, we can make a difference. By working together and trying to make a bigger impact by following through with this list, you are contributing. And now more than ever, we need youths that are passionate about the environment to step up to change the course of climate change. For the younger generation, it is easy to feel hopeless in the face of climate change but collectively, young people can be extremely impactful.
1. Carbon Majors Database. (2017). CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017. https://cdn.cdp.net/cdp-production/cms/reports/documents/000/002/327/original/Carbon-Majors-Report-2017.pdf?1501833772
2. David Suzuki Foundation. (2022, August 8). Top 10 Things You Can Do about Climate Change. https://davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/top-10-ways-can-stop-climate-change/
3. The Graham Institute. (2019, June). 9 Things You Can Do About Climate Change. Imperial College London. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/stories/climate-action/
4. Oreskes, N. (2022, January 1). Eating Less Red Meat is Something Individuals Can Do to Help the Climate Crisis. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/eating-less-red-meat-is-something-individuals-can-do-to-help-the-climate-crisis/
5. United Nations Environmental Program. (2022, January 7). 10 Ways You Can Help Fight the Climate Crisis. https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/10-ways-you-can-help-fight-climate-crisis
6. World Economic Forum. (2018, June 28). 5 Tips From the Front Lines for Talking About Climate Change. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/how-to-talk-about-climate-change-5-tips-from-the-front-lines/
7. World Wildlife Fund. (2021, November 1). What Youth Can Do to Fight Climate Change. https://wwf.ca/stories/what-youth-can-do-to-fight-climate-change/
Author: Mia Tran, Student Intern
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