A new open-letter from over 15,000 scientists worldwide is making headlines today, and it's quite likely you already know what they are warning us about - but have you done anything about it? Can you do more? Can I?
25 years on from the original warning of overpopulation, greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption, these scientists declare that: 'humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in solving these foreseen environmental challenges.' And they are quite right in this statement. It seems the latter part of the last century was spent spreading doubt that anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change was genuinely accepted science. (It is). And now that debate has finally been settled it appears the next one concerns green financing, with much procrastination from our elected representatives in helping the public transition to sustainable living. We have lost valuable time and we now have to make changes twice as fast.
So putting aside the big changes that we would all like to make but need more support for (such as installing solar and driving electric) what can we do?
I would strongly recommend a look at the letter itself for specifics (it's quite short and highly readable), but in summary there are some points from the letter that we can do right away:
Reducing food waste
From only buying what you need, to batch cooking we only need to apply a little common sense and time to nail this one. Plus if you have genuinely cooked or bought too much you can use apps like Olio to share them with others.
Dietary shifts towards mostly plant - based foods
In our house we like to say that we "keep meat a Sunday treat". It's actually pretty easy to switch to plant-based foods, a warming bean goulash costs very little, and Ben and Jerry's make an awesome vegan ice-creamfor the same price as dairy alternatives.
Re-wilding regions with native species
Well, just yesterday I blogged about buying real poppy seeds and they are super simple to grow: scatter and wait.
Have less children
Less procreation is generally critiqued as too controversial to discuss, but the science is there and the world's resources are finite and cannot fulfil the needs of many more humans.
In addition to these suggestions supported by 15,000 scientists I'd like to recommend using your voice to demand urgent action from politicians, and using your vote to change politicians if the first way doesn't work.
You can also consider switching to a 100% renewable energy tariff, asking your supermarkets to use only recyclable plastics and going plastic-free where possible, buying second hand and donating unwanted items to charity, using public transport, seek out an environmental charity or group that interests you (oceans, animals, rainforests, climate refugees, humanitarian aid), or host a climate documentary night with friends to get inspired.
And finally - choose your news. This one is dear to my heart. Only when you start to look through the news can you really find the good stuff. The facts. The action. The efforts. The successes. The failures. It may mean ditching your normal daily fix to seek out often unsettling information to read, understand and share widely. Climate change is terrifying. It is happening now (even though it looks like a normal day outside your window). And the effects will be devastating. So - have you done anything about it today? Can you do more? Can I?