Be A Climate Influencer

The release of the UN’s most recent climate report was greeted with many headlines sounding like this:

Climate Change is Already Worse Than Expected

New UN Report on Climate Change Warns of Devastating Impacts

UN Warns Earth ‘firmly on track toward an unlivable world

The problem is, we’ve seen these headlines before…in fact, every time the UN or some other global body issues their think tank’s report on climate change. And they are no more effective at driving change now than they were when the first appeared. Human beings are initially attracted by fear, but ultimately, they are motivated by stories of hope. Headlines like these offer no such hope (although to be fair, if you get past the headlines to read the articles, you will find some buried in there). Without hope, our default stance is inaction: If governments, if businesses, lack the stick-to-it-tiveness to pursue rational climate policies, what can li’l ol’ me do? Even worse, why should I? It’s hopeless.

Well, don’t jump off that ledge just yet. The news is not really hopeless, but it is urgent. Take a look at these headlines:

Stopping Climate Change is Doable, but Time is Short

In this article, experts remind us not to let the perfect get in the way of the good: “Every portion of a degree matters,” Dr. Jim Skea (one of the report’s authors) stated. “Even if we go beyond 1.5C, that doesn’t mean we throw up our hands in despair.

It’s Not Too Late To Stave Off the Climate Crisis, UN Report Finds. Here’s How.

The story outlines three specific actions that governments at all levels and that the business community can take to have immediate positive impacts:

  • Leverage lower costs for renewable energy to accelerate the uptake
  • Suck carbon out of the air (not just by technology, which is years away, but by reforestation, forest preservation, and urban planting)
  • Redesign/rezone cities to encourage more sustainable lifestyles (think Toronto)

It’s not hard to look at these government/business imperatives and figure out how individuals can help.

Which leads to my personal favorite headline:

Climate Optimism

This was a head-turner for sure. While the columnists admits that collective, large-scale action is needed, he adds: “Individuals could still make a difference, by playing into a collective approach. You can convince friends and family to take the issue seriously, changing what politicians they support (and, I will add, what brands they buy). You can become involved in politics, including at the local level, where many climate policies are carried out. You can actively post about global warming on social media. You can donate money to climate causes.”

The short take: Be a Climate Influencer. Not interested in politics? Try these activities:

  • Volunteer for a beach clean-up, or to plant trees to bring healthier air and lower temps to urban hot spots…and bring a few friends with you
  • Have your HOA or neighborhood association bring in speakers to talk about how to turn your community into a green zone
  • Integrate pre-owned or repurposed (thinking of all of those plastic bottles becoming shoes) into your wardrobe…and proudly explain their origins when complimented.

And of course, participate in or donate to programs offered by EarthShare NJ, where your engagement serves a number of environmental organizations throughout our state. Or if you are focused on specific issues related to the care and feeding of wildlife or specific resources, such as air, water, and land in our great state, look up one of our partner organizations focused on those issues and get involved. And always make sure to bring a few friends with you.

Submitted by Joan Sinopoli, President of Sinopoli Brand Consulting
                                          & President EarthShare NJ Board of Directors