2021 is a “super” year for climate change!
With new UN conferences on climate change, biodiversity, and global agreements underway combined with a US president that views climate change as an urgent issue, we as a country and a planet can move forward and take significant action. After a brutal pandemic, there is a global desire to make a quick economic recovery, but we, have to be careful not to fall into common post-recession recovery traps that traditionally see large spikes in pollution.
What does that mean for everyday people? How can we realistically impact these incredibly complex global and national systems, steeped in industries and political forces with a financial interest in not changing our path forward? After looking at all the ways we can most effectively make a bigger impact this year, we found 3 main categories.
We challenge you to ask yourself, “What can I do about climate change?” and to choose one or more to get started!
3 Simple Ways To Have a Big Impact With Climate Change
#1: Shift Daily Habits
While the bigger lift that needs to happen includes policies that transform our global economy, we need a better bridge to get there.
Our most immediate way to make a difference is with our own habits. In fact it’s the simplest and most effective way to start creating demand and strong support for better climate policies.
While many tools available focus on calculating our total footprint, at Tiny Planet we think people need better shortcuts to putting awareness into simple action. (link to 1st blog)
Looking at our most repeatable actions, we can find an incredibly helpful lens that overlaps the activities with the biggest carbon pollution footprint (which worsens climate change). Driving, eating, buying stuff and throwing it away, and shifts around the home are the easiest places to start making planet-friendly habits to curb climate change.
So how can we put this awareness into simple action? First, just start by picking one small step you can repeat regularly (daily or weekly, ideally). The key is to pick something that feels realistic to start and is also something you actually want to do. This makes it much easier to build up a repeated action into a habit so that it feels effortless and automatic.
These new simple steps can vary from what we eat, how we get around, and better places to throw things “away.” These repeated actions add up over time, making a significant impact. Plus, once it is a part of our regular routine, it takes zero brainpower to do it on repeat!
Looking for a place to start? Check out 5 Everyday Tiny Planet Shifts — it’s FREE and gives you access to a few free weeks of email or text message support to jumpstart tiny planet-friendly shifts in your life!
Want more great tips to build planet-friendly habits? Check out our blog on how to simplify shrinking your carbon footprint. It’s full of practical insights you can try out today!
#2: Build Those Civic Engagement Muscles
Civic engagement is much more than voting when there are elections in your area. There is a whole spectrum of activities you can participate in to build up your civic engagement muscles.
You can write to elected officials to pass more climate policies, lead a movement, or focus on having conversations like Katherine Hayhoe outlines in this Ted Talk.
Organizations like Sierra Club offer a variety of ways you can get civically engaged as a volunteer. Sierra Club and other environmental organizations active on policy advocacy host in-person and virtual call nights to activate members, letter writing campaigns, and many other opportunities for volunteers to help advocate for various climate policies.
Does this feel overwhelming? Don’t worry too much about doing anything big or beyond what you feel comfortable with. You can take simpler actions that are just as important, such as casually sharing your climate concerns with friends and inviting them to make environmentally-friendly shifts with you.
Investing time into activities that help your own community with climate change is another great step. Here again there is a spectrum of options from informal and personal to more public.
Impromptu trash pickups on your street or at a local park are low-time commitment things you can do just about any time. Want to join up with others? Local tree planting and river clean-ups are popular and accessible in most areas. Are you feeling up for even more? Ask your local environmental organizations how to become a regular volunteer, helping lead projects or supporting more engagement from the community.
Being connected to improving your local community can have personal and community benefits. It can help you feel more motivated to continue to do something about climate change because you see how it can directly improve your community. It can also build local momentum and support for climate projects, something that can help move the needle when local policies might be considered.
How to Get Started
Now that we have answered the “what can I do about climate change?” question, it is time to move on to the next step. It is just as important to consider WHAT we do as it is to determine HOW we do it. Here are three simple ways to get started:
- Try something THIS week
Pick just one thing, one specific and realistic action, to try this week. It doesn’t matter how deep you are into the environmentalism movement yet; you just have to start with one little step that can eventually be repeated as a part of your daily routine.
- Add it to your calendar
Don’t forget to do the specific action you chose! Add it to your calendar and add an alarm so that you don’t forget!
- Grab a buddy
Ask someone to join you! An accountability partner is an excellent way to make forward momentum together.
Join Us at Tiny Planet
Here at Tiny Planet, we are taking action to help you create change in your life and the world. We have a free mini challenge to support you getting started on your best next step with planet-friendly habits: Sign up to Try 5 Everyday Tiny Planet Shifts to reduce nearly a metric ton of carbon pollution from your year!