Scientists Agree That These Are The 5 Actions We Need To Take On Climate Change
While sometimes scientific language can be confusing to laypeople, the scientists I know have been grappling with how best to use basic language that any second grader can understand to talk about one topic in particular: climate change. Why? Because they want us to get it. Fast.
At the Kripalu Center Climate Conference last month, where some of the nation's leading scientists and communicators gathered to discuss climate change and our role within it, Seth Rosenthal, Ph.D., of Yale’s Program on Climate Change Communication, began with these five facts:
- It's real
- It's us.
- It's bad.
- Scientists agree it's happening.
- There's hope.
Once you grasp that 97 percent of scientists can agree on these facts (and part of the remaining 3 percent are funded by dirty industries), there’s an a-ha moment: Yikes. We have a major problem on our hands. Here are a few of the ways the science community is encouraging citizens to become part of the solution:
1. Be informed about all aspects of global warming: its sources, impacts, and solutions.
Follow ironclad science news sources like Climate Central, InsideClimate News, DeSmogBlog, and YPCCC. Add programs like NOVA’s upcoming show "Decoding the Weather Machine" to your queue. Read science-based books that are written for non-Ph. D. folk like Extreme Weather & Our Changing Climate, The Weather of the Future, and The Water Will Come (especially if you live on the coastline). Browse this super-accessible FAQ from the climate team at the New York Times, and get their newsletter.
2. Get involved on a local level.
As federal pollution regulations are rolled back and our protected lands are reduced, invest your time and energy in your community and at county and state levels. Find out what your alma mater or city schools are doing to solve global warming. Google "Climate Change" and name of university, "Sustainability" and name of city or state, "Energy Efficiency" and name of your utility. Attend a public meeting—listen, ask questions, and weigh in!
Stop wasting energy and start conserving valuable resources.
What are you doing on November 6, 2018? You’re voting, that’s what! Make your plan: Register. Get to know your candidates, and check in to see if they are taking a stand on climate issues. Remember the power of a phone call and a personalized letter.
4. Make positive change on a personal level.
Stop wasting energy and start conserving valuable resources. Some easy ways to get started include using pasta water to irrigate your potted plants, giving up meat one day a week, replacing your wheezing freezer, and adjusting your thermostat a few degrees. (Bonus: A lot of these will save you money, too.) Behavior experts say that small actions are habit-forming and have an impact: Once you begin acting like you’re part of the solution, you’ll influence friends to do the same.
5. Talk about it in a productive way.
Have you noticed that the words "global warming" and "climate change" can shut down even the merriest picnic party? Talk about these issues in a way that will inform and inspire, and you'll be the tip of a not-melting iceberg.
PSA: There may be a way to hack your psychology to take more eco-friendly actions. Learn more here.