By Mary Cappelletti
Climate change is one of the most pressing, complex problems facing humanity today. It wreaks havoc on the world as it causes damage to natural environments, endangers human prosperity, and disrupts many of the natural functions of the environment, such as weather. Few Seattleites would argue that climate change isn’t a scientific fact, however there are still many that don’t engage in climate action. This lack of action is often rooted in the idea that individual involvement “doesn’t matter.” It’s true that ditching plastic bags as an individual is not going to prevent the production of plastic or end the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Alone, your actions have a mostly intangible influence on the massive problem of climate change. However, this is all the more reason to make these small changes. Every independent action combines with the actions of others to make a joint impact. So, the more people that make a change, the greater the change. Each person that stops using plastic bags is helping to shift the demand away from these unsustainable products and redirect the demand for sustainable alternatives. The more people that don’t buy plastic, the greater the demand for another option.
Ending your personal demand for plastic bags, as well as refraining from using air conditioning, not flying internationally, using public transportation, and eating a plant based diet, are all examples of actions that can join with others to make a difference. However, even when joined with others, these actions unfortunately are not going to end climate change alone. They are an important piece of the puzzle because they create a shift in the market as the public demands more sustainable products and infrastructure. However, it is also important that individuals start to pressure the government, both locally and nationally. It’s vital that the public start holding politicians responsible for the promises they make and the damages they cause. In future posts we will explore this further to discover the best ways to motivate politicians to act in the best interest of the environment.
Making lifestyle changes and pressuring the government are important measures that need to be taken, and they need to be taken now. As I stated above, climate change is already wreaking havoc on the natural world, however the worst effects are yet to come. If we wait until these effects worsen, it may be too late. Furthermore, getting involved in climate action can be a really fun experience. Attending events such as rallies, meetings, marches, and our very own Climate Science on Tap can allow you to meet new, interesting people.
Winning the battle against climate change requires a group effort in order for us to be successful. It also requires that we maintain a positive attitude about winning the battle. It can sometimes be easy to let the current climate situation leave you discouraged, but there is a lot of good being done around the world, as well as in our own backyard. Becoming disheartened about the issue, doesn’t solve the problem. However, making lifestyle adjustments, advocating for policy changes, pressuring politicians, and starting conversations within your community might do the trick if we all pitch in.