In countries such as Malawi (pictured) increasingly erratic weather is triggering more storms and droughts. Credit: Christian Aid/Nicky Milne
There's a chance the term 'climate change' might just be ringing in your ears. With the 1990s being a period of acceleration in climate science (and consensus), it's a buzzword that is well drummed in to millennials' vocab.
It's a big deal and this is a big year. A climatic climax of sorts.
Firstly, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (representing the world's leading climate experts) identified pretty frightening trajectories for people and planet in their last report. They warned that "without additional mitigation efforts beyond those in place today... warming by the end of the 21st century will lead to very high risk of severe, widespread and irreversible impacts globally."
It's the world's poorest communities - those who have done least to cause climate change - who bear the brunt of it, warns international development charity Christian Aid. In countries as far afield as Bangladesh and Malawi, increasingly erratic weather is triggering more storms and droughts, making life very difficult for people struggling to lift themselves out of poverty.
We need to take note.
Secondly, [said with hope] there is an opportunity that note will be taken, as nations are gathering together this winter to make some meaningful, much-needed headway. The UN climate talks -codename COP21 - gives countries a vital chance to address the catastrophic impact of man-made climate change and move the world closer to a fairer, low-carbon future. COP21's big mission is to create a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.
The clincher is that fighting climate change is a party we're all invited to and all have to be involved in if we want to ensure damage is limited. Herein lies five ways to use your summer to get climate constructive:
1. Put the date in the diary: Peoples Climate March
Important decisions will be made in Paris from November 30 to December 11, at the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (otherwise known as COP21). On November 29, the eve of the UN conference, join a mass protest to show our governments that we demand action to save our planet. Billed as the biggest ever climate protest, it'll involve demonstrations in London and other cities, including in Scotland and Wales. Show up and speak up.
2. Plan a green pilgrimage to COP21
Harnessing people power will show policy makers that we care, that we are watching and that this is a conversation that requires everybody's participation. That's why climate campaigners worldwide are embarking on 'The People's Pilgrimage' to Paris, travelling to the French capital on foot or by bike ahead of COP21. They don't just talk the talk: they'll be walking the walk as well.
3. Make some climate happy lifestyle choices
We often dismiss individual actions as wishy-washy, drop in the ocean guff, but ultimately if climate change has an anthropogenic root then it has an anthropogenic solution. Cut down or cut out your meat and dairy consumption, get a bicycle, recycle, buy less, buy local. People will start asking you why you live against the grain - and it's these conversations that shift mind-sets and make waves. If you're not sure where to start, why not take up a climate challenge from the Christian Aid Collective?
4. Meet your MP
Find out who your MP is here and have a conversation with them. They represent you and they need to know that their constituent is demanding action on climate policy - in areas such as green energy and fossil fuels. MPs aren't as scary as they are made out to be: this video tells you how to go about lobbying your MP.
5. Make noise
Capitalise on our generation's tech savviness to educate people on how to get climate savvy. Use whatever skill you have to share your story of why you care (and why not caring isn't an option): then make some noise and make it known. Do a stunt, sing a song, write an article - just be sure you share it with your local paper/radio station/campus/social media networks.
While we break for summer and while decisions makers don their decision-making hats, we need to do what we can, when we can, to make change wherever we can.
It's time to show our leaders exactly why the world desperately needs a global solution big enough to solve the big climate problem. And that's where you come in.
Participate. Take action. Make noise.