Climate change – two words that are almost always accompanied by paragraphs of dread. Let’s save some time and assume that you agree that this phenomenon is not only the harbinger of some truly disastrous nightmares, but that it’s being driven by human activity. What’s the one thing that you can do, as an individual, to slow down the terrifying pace of climate change?
Trust us, we know how you feel. Reading report after report on how powerful natural disasters are going to get, or hearing about how war, conflict, and famine await us on an inevitably scorched Earth, is enough to make you think that fighting against the incoming tide is utterly futile.
Why bother recycling that plastic bottle, installing a solar panel on your roof, or giving up your car for a bike when huge conglomerates pump out tonnes of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere at a blistering rate? Why spend hours arguing with a climate change conspiracy theorist on Twitter when you know that powerful interests have their backs?
Of course, if everyone thought this way, then we really would be doomed to fail. Recycling, reducing vehicular use, eating less meat, and using renewable energy sources, if possible, all help to shrink your carbon footprint. If others follow your example, the planet will be better off.
It is true, though, that unless the most powerful people in the world act on climate change, individual efforts will be in vain – and therein lies the most significant, game-changing action you can take to change the future.
You can vote.
It may sound trite, and there are many justifiable complaints that certain voting systems are biased towards those interested in maintaining their own grip on power. However, voting is inarguably the most effective way of preventing climate change-denying politicians from holding office. It’s also the only way you can empower people that will actually be able to fight against this oncoming maelstrom.
Do not be complacent. Get up, get out there, and vote. ra2studio/Shutterstock
If you agree that climate change is an existential danger – a genuine supervillain that threatens everything, from food supplies to national security – then it’s your responsibility to find out what any potential lawmakers up for election think about it.
Make no mistake, the ballot box is the most potent weapon in your arsenal. Remember, there are actually plenty of politicians out there that do agree with you and hold science in the highest regard.
It isn’t just the scientific consensus over climate change that these ambitious men and women are increasingly accepting. A vast volume of academic research has confirmed that establishing a carbon-cutting frameworks will bring with it huge economic benefits, technological prosperity, and energy independence. International agreements, if acted upon, will make the world more peaceful.
Some politicians have long accepted climate change as a scientific fact and have, to the benefit or detriment of their careers, let the world know. However, even the most callous and selfish lawmakers know that once enough of the public get on board with an idea – civil rights, same-sex marriage, evolution and, yes, climate change – they will have to go with the flow or face expulsion.
Right now, the world is on the cusp of an intellectual revolution. Climate change deniers are rapidly beginning to be considered the new flat-Earthers. Yes, there are major political parties and unscrupulous media outlets that officially still have their fingers in their ears, but they are on the wrong side of history.
So go on, be part of that critical mass. Get up, head to a polling station, and vote for politicians that will act on this monumental problem. You’ll literally be saving the world if you do.
Alaskan glaciers are in full retreat. Vote for politicians that care to stop them disappearing entirely. USGS