Friends and I got together for lunch last week – and little did I know beforehand that they were going to search me to have answers to help save the planet, now that climate-change-denier Trump has been elected. I had been posting my climate fears on Facebook because – with Trump planning to reverse “every” climate- and environment-saving action that has been made – there was no way to prevent the global temperature from rising more than 3.6 (!) degrees in the next couple of decades. Translation – sea level rises of 6 feet (also !) by 2100. Nevermind that Earth’s fever is not going to stop rising after that without strong action – it will continue and ice will melt and droughts will strike for generations to come.
2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/03/30 /antarctic-loss-could-double-expected-sea-level-rise-by-2100-scientists-say/?utm_term=.a22a006fba05
And, after all, there are few jobs and many refugees on a drowning, simultaneously drought-stricken planet.
“..in 2015 there were 19.2 million new displacements associated with weather, water, climate and geophysical hazards in 113 countries, more than twice as many as for conflict and violence. Of these, weather-related hazards triggered 14.7 million displacements.” http://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/provisional-wmo-statement-status-of-global-climate-2016.
Here’s a scary article for you: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6313/aaf7671.
So action! Prevent climate change!
So my friends asked – what can we do that is most effective? How do we stop Trump from throwing treaties and prior actions and the EPA out the window? How can we both do good and simultaneously send a message to the world? I have been working on renovating my house lately to make it green, but that is a quiet kindof progress, and doesn’t shout to the world, or cause others to join the movement.
Here’s what could:
Send a message to politicians:
1. Yeah, marching and protests could catch their eye briefly. But science is showing (ref – which I can’t find but I swore I read) that marches don’t get the attention they used to. There have been soooo many of them. They are a shout into the wind, and the video gets filed away. Ephemeral. HOWEVER, they help create comradery among those of us worried. They can buoy us up. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/11057279/Marching-together-makes-soldiers-fearless-study-finds.html)
However, more to the point: write letters to or visit your Congressional representatives. Sure, those of us in DC don’t actually have our own – and yet… technically we have them all (evil laugh). The House of Representatives is in charge of DC. So I am going to write – and visit as much as possible – each and every one of them. They don’t want to allow us our own vote in Congress, well, they get to have the responsibility of listening to us. Some actually may. (A side benefit is that they may decide they don’t want responsibility anyway, and give us our own reps.) http://www.attn.com/stories/12768/former-congressional-staffer-explains-how-to-make-congressman-listen.
2. DC folks – get friends in states to write letters.
3. Find out what events or park/museum openings they are going to speak at, if you can, and talk to them there, or create a silent banner protest.
4. Uhm, out of other ideas actually. Politicians rarely listen to those who don’t have a ton of money (thanks Citizen United) or who don’t provide a photo op.
Send a message to the ones with the money and jobs – the “Market”
1. Invest in climate related Kickstarter entrepreneurs – these are the folks that are experiment with solutions. It usually is little investment, and while risky and you are unlikely to get returns – it gets the experimental pot percolating. Sometimes an Elon Musk is created. Or an Elena Musk.
2. Invest in well-known and established companies. The field in solar is changing so fast, that it is hard for one company to keep making profits, because they get leap-frogged by others. But many companies definitely are in the news as successful, or on their way. But please take a financial advisor’s advice regarding this!
3. If able – choose your power utility so that it is 100% wind or solar. Many, many cities provide that choice. Mine costs < $10 more a month. (Oh, but don’t let it go to your head, we still need to keep our electrical use low.) It’s amazing how one person can make a difference. Note from friend:
“I finally changed our electricity to only renewable energy a few months back because of info you had posted about it. I think that would be a great thing people could do.”
4. Once you start wind and solar-based electricity, then have natural gas appliances and then the natural gas pipes removed from your home as soon as feasible. Boy, does that send a message!
5. BUY your solar and your mini-wind turbines now. Before the evil feds take away the incentives. You will benefit, and so will the market and maybe the politicians will get the message. Trump promised jobs, after all. I am not promoting these specific ones below, because I certainly don’t know yet which one is best for your situations, but just to give you an idea of what’s out there:
#3 on here looks like a pretty cool turbine for urban folks! https://cleantechnica.com/2008/03/21/the-five-best-micro-wind-turbines/.
Just Google mini or micro wind turbines for more ideas.
Here’s one at Sears for <$500:
6. Also you can buy off your carbon footprint guilt with Native Energy. Yep – Native Americans investing in wind and solar. This group is thinking ahead. http://www.nativeenergy.com/.
Send a message to city, town, and county planners:
1. Purchase a bikeshare. They are so cheap! But the numbers of riders send a huge message to city planners, and your money helps build extremely clean (and healthy) infrastructure, that even if you don’t use, others will benefit. In return, just think of how many fewer cars will be on those streets – filling the air with fumes. I already had a membership, so I just purchased one out in Fort Worth, Texas, just for fun.
2. Attend a community session and ask a climate question. Costs nothing – and makes one feel so adult.
3. Send up a laundry flag (well, this actually works better in the spring and summer.) But help make it so it’s no big deal to line dry.
Send a message to the world
1. Here’s where protests could help. At least the world would know that most of us care. It also shows your children that you care, if you have any and take them along that is.
2. Fund climate-change organizations. Among the best:
a. 350.org. All about the climate. https://350.org/.
b. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). https://www.nrdc.org/ They cover not just climate, and they do have the lawyers and many great staff. They have been effective, especially at regional levels. (https://www.nrdc.org/issues/communities).
c. NatureServe – is helping pull data together on biodiversity impacted directly by climate change. http://www.natureserve.org/.
d. The National Center for Science Education, because, duh! https://ncse.com/. (if you are thinking this one might be a bit long term, they also have programs for adults, such as: https://ncse.com/dealingwithdenial.)
e. AAAS (oops, my organization – don’t mean to self-promote – and my views in my blog represent my own views and do not represent AAAS) but we have a Center for Public Engagement https://www.aaas.org/pes that you can directly fund (https://www.aaas.org/giving/contributions-at-work), and AAAS activities include the Dialogue on Science Ethics and Religion, bridging borders. https://www.aaas.org/DoSER. (I am in a different section entirely.)
f. See more: http://www.myphilanthropedia.org/top-nonprofits/national/climate-change/2012.
3. Write articles to local newspapers referencing how the coal plants are causing asthma, and asking if anybody has tracked it locally.
4. Buy a billboard – put on there “There are few jobs and many refugees on a drowning planet.”
There are other short-, medium- and long-term steps. For more resources, join a Green Neighbors group. For instance, Green Neighbors DC (serving north central DC) meets on every 3rd Monday at the Petworth Library. Check the blog for upcoming resources that will be kicking in. https://greenneighborsdc.wordpress.com/.
Here are other fun ways people are tackling climate change: http://www.audubon.org/news/three-fun-ways-people-are-spreading-word-climate-change.
Some other interesting references I came across:
2. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-6765.2006.00645.x/full (this oneappears rather sad from the abstract (still need to read), but if it follows the abstract, I think it reflects a sad reality, especially now that more than half of Americans have no executive or majority in the legislature.)
And please post more ideas and efforts here!