This month the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered an extremely sobering report. The IPCC is made up of scientists whose findings are endorsed by the world's governments and their report is the first major review of the science of climate change since 2013. The landmark study unequivocally found that human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways. UN Secretary General António Guterres calls this report “a code red for humanity” and it warns of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade. (For a summary of the report click here.)
There’s no way around it -- climate change is here, it’s a crisis, and it can no longer be ignored.
So is there hope?
Yes. But only if the world acts fast, and we have no time to waste. Scientists say catastrophe can be avoided if we can cut global emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero by the middle of this century. Only then will we be able to halt, and possibly reverse, the dangerous rise in temperatures.
So, what can you do?
Climate expert Dr. Katharine Wilkinson says, “There is no simple formula, no fact sheet or checklist, for figuring out our roles in the vital work to forge a just, livable future.” Nevertheless, she has come up with a 5-step series of reflections to help you figure out what you can do to fight climate change.
In the wake of the IPCC report, the Nebia team pondered the questions she posed and found them useful in determining how we could best use our unique skill sets to do our part. We hope you'll find them helpful too.
1. Feel your feelings
If you’re like us and care deeply about our planet and its future, the IPCC report probably left you with feelings of hopelessness and despair. This is perfectly normal but we can't lose hope - hopelessness can be paralyzing and action is the antidote to anxiety.
Dr. Wilkinson suggests asking yourself: What emotions does the climate crisis stir up in you? What do you feel is at stake? Why do you feel drawn to be part of Earth’s healing?
Then, she recommends journaling or meditating about it, discussing with a friend, and letting the tears come if they need to because “Our feelings can keep us frozen, or they can be fuel.”
2. Scout Your Superpowers
Humanity has a tremendous task at hand and the heaviest lifting must happen this decade. So ask yourself, What knowledge, skills, or resources could you contribute? Does using particular talents fill you with a sense of power or joy? What are they?
The world needs whatever you’ve got to give.
3. Survey Solutions
There are so many different ways to combat climate change that you may become overwhelmed trying to choose the “best” one. Don’t worry about one best approach. Instead, educate yourself around the causes of climate change, learn more about the environmental problems our planet is facing, and then research solutions.
As you do so, ask yourself, Are there particular climate solutions that capture your imagination? Now that you’ve looked inward, let these questions direct your gaze outward. Do some reading and research. See what lights you up.
Need help getting started? Here are 7 things you can do right now to take action on climate change.
4. Consider your Context
Consider these three realms: your personal life, your professional life, and public life. What opportunities for action lie right at hand in your home, family, or friend group? In your workplace or profession? In the civic life of your community, city, state, or country? Are there efforts already underway you could join?
You just may find the answers are right in front of you :)
5. Cultivate a Climate Squad
We need all hands on deck in order to stem climate change. So ask yourself “Are there people you want to link arms with? Is there a climate-focused group, campaign, or organization that feels kindred? Could you join, volunteer, or apply for a job?
In the words of Dr. Wilkinson, “Given the enormity of the task at hand, we need to function like an ecosystem, finding strength in our diversity.” Because only together will we be able to reverse the tide and avert climate catastrophe.