Climate change is a really hard thing to get people to give a real shit about. And we get why. While it’s tragic seeing polar bears floating away on their shrunken icebergs and dissected birds with their innards filled with plastic, these images are so far removed from our everyday life it’s easy to think nothing more than a ‘oh that sucks’. Another issue in the care factor barometer is, climate change isn’t immediate. While we’re seeing the undeniable effects in weather patterns and rising sea levels, it’s not impending enough for us to feel like it’s an imminent, get-our-shit-together threat.
So what to do? The stats or pictures don’t scare us enough into action. Neither do freak weather patterns or the news that hundreds of thousands of people have and will become climate change refugees. We’re too far removed from 2050, 2030, or even 2020 to compel us or many of our governments into any meaningful change. So when things seem too big and hard to manage, you attack it as you would with any sizeable problem in your life: break it down into manageable chunks.
So what can we all do?
We can stop waiting for other people to do something first.
We need to lead by example and step the fuck up. Thinking it’s up to others, governments or big businesses to do something first is lazy. Just because Bob down the road doesn’t recycle or drives to his letterbox doesn’t let you off the hook. Bob’s a dick and he’ll soon change his ways. Have a bit of pride and self satisfaction that you are part of the last generation who can and will do something about saving the planet. When it comes down to it, the problem with climate change is our attitudes.
We can take a stand with our wallets
Ok, so our governments are paralysed with greed, red tape, indecision and a blinkered vision of the future, but that doesn’t mean we have to be. Instead of waiting for our one vote every few years, let’s show what we want with our wallets. If we’re not cool with having our money in banks that invest in coal, change banks. If we’re not ok with the waste of fast fashion, don’t indulge in it. If wrapping four strawberries in plastic pisses us off, don’t buy it. Write brands a letter, cause a stink on their social media accounts, start a Tumblr, start a petition. All it takes is a little self control, motivation and getting off your ass. We have so much more power than we think and this is what will help change the bad ways of many businesses, and in turn, influence governments.
Give a shit about what your friends and families are doing
We all know someone who could be doing more. It’s not that they’re a bad person or they don’t believe in climate change – maybe they feel the problem is beyond them. What’s one more disposable coffee cup they say sheepishly as they toss their morning latte in the bin. Well, the trouble is, one more from everyone currently equates to 500 billion disposable coffee cups discarded into landfill every year. So don’t let them off the hook for stuff they know is wrong or bad habits they can easily do something about. Plant the seed of change and watch it grow like a limp penis in a porno.
Make climate change relatable
If we can’t care about the polar bears, try bringing climate change closer to your life and what’s important to you (or the people you know). Most people like beer, right? Talk to them about how a climate change brings extreme flooding and severe drought to crops. This could make beer a shitload more expensive. The same goes for coffee and chocolate – all the good stuff. Put climate change into relatable, life affecting terms.
No need for foetal rocking, there’s plenty to be optimistic about
The whole idea is not to feel hopeless or shitty about climate change. There’s plenty that can be done and mostly, it has to do with calming down on consumption and minimising our waste. Not hard stuff. It’s an exciting time to be around and we should feel positive we can be part of changing things. Do some reading about the incredible things happening in science, technology and innovation. It’s inspiring. Talk about it, share the great stuff you see and start putting the i in climate change.
Caro and Vanessa are founders of Be An Unfucker – a movement dedicated to changing the conversation about the environment and bringing it closer to our everyday lives. They’ll be appearing at Purpose to talk about rebranding ‘green’, social disruption and good ol’ fashioned swearing.
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