Our logo turned green this month as a sign of our commitment and absolute resolve to make a difference in the fight against global pollution and climate change. Here is the first of our articles aimed at raising awareness.
In late 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released it’s latest findings. It was not good news. We have precisely 12 months to limit temperature increases to less than 1.5 degrees C, or face damning consequences, including catastrophic sea level rise, extreme heatwaves, mass extinctions and the death of coral reefs.
“There’s one issue that will define the contours of the century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent threat of a changing climate”Barack Obama
The authors of the IPCC report say it’s still possible to prevent the world from warming more than 1.5 degrees C, but to achieve that, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030 compared to what they were in 2010, then reduce gas emissions to zero by 2050. But to do this requires an immediate, massive, and coordinated transformation of the global economic system – especially the energy system, said the IPCC.
As skiers and boarders, we have a ‘vested’ interest to take action or face losing our sport and the environment which will be relegated to the history books of ‘something mum and dad used to do’ (yes, mum and dad, not grandma and granddad – its happening that fast).
“In a world of more than 7 billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket. But with enough drops, we can fill any bucket.”Professor David Suzuki
Because we at SRA have given up on government to do anything about the climate change and its causes, we are calling on you as individuals to take up the slack. This is our call to action.
It ‘s no longer a government responsibility, but our individual responsibility to act – and not only act, but urge others to do the same.
This week we thought we’d start with an excellent piece written by Professor David Suzuki – scientist and passionate climate change mitigation advocate. In 2018, David’s team published an article ‘Top 10 things you can do about climate change‘.
With permission, we are excited to reproduce David’s key actions below – all of which are achievable by the average person.
1. Get charged up with renewables
The global push for cleaner, healthier energy is on. With costs dropping every day, renewable energy is the best choice for the environment and the economy. Start by sending a message to government leaders to get charged up with renewables now.
2. Green your commute
Transportation accounts for about 25% of climate-poluting emissions, a close second to the oil and gas industry. The many ways to reduce your transportation emissions will also make you healthier, happier and save you a few bucks. Whenever and wherever you can:
- Take public transit.
- Ride a bike.
- Switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle.
- Fly less (if you ski internationally, make sure you offset your emissions).
3. Use energy wisely
By getting more energy efficient, you’ll pollute less and save money. The small changes you make add up:
- Change to energy-efficient light bulbs.
- Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when you’re not using them.
- Wash clothes in cold or warm (not hot) water.
- Dryers are energy hogs, so hang dry when you can and use dryer balls when you can’t.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- Look for the Energy Star label when buying new appliances.
- Winterize your home to prevent heat from escaping.
- Get a home or workplace energy audit to identify where you can make the most energy-saving gains.
4. Eat for a climate-stable planet
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”~ Michael Pollan
Here are four simple changes you can make to your diet to reduce its climate impact.
- Eat meat-free meals.
- Buy organic and local whenever possible.
- Don’t waste food.
- Grow your own.
5. Consume less, waste less, enjoy life
“We use too much, too much of it is toxic and we don’t share it very well. But that’s not the way things have to be. Together, we can build a society based on better not more, sharing not selfishness, community not division.” ~ The Story of Stuff
Focusing on life’s simple pleasures — spending time in nature, being with loved ones and/or making a difference to others — provides more purpose, belonging and happiness than buying and consuming. Sharing, making, fixing, upcycling, repurposing and composting are all good places to start.
6. Divest from fossil fuels
Let industry know you care about climate change by making sure any investments you and your university, workplace or pension fund make do not include fossil fuels. Meet with your bank or investment adviser and/or join a divestment campaign at your university.
Fossil fuels are a sunset industry. They’re a risk for investors and the planet. As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I don’t want to be the last investor in Blockbuster as Netflix emerged.”
Learn more about why it’s important to divest from damage and invest in a healthier future.
7. Invest in renewables
Even if you can’t install solar panels or a wind turbine, you can still be a part of the clean-energy economy. Search online for local renewable energy co-ops to join. By becoming a co-op member you will own a slice of its renewable energy projects and can get a return on your investment. You can also speak to your financial adviser about clean energy/technology investments.
8. Help put a price on carbon
Putting a price on carbon is one of the most important pillars of any strong climate policy. Carbon pricing sounds boring, but it helps makes polluting activities more expensive and green solutions relatively more affordable, allowing your energy-efficient business and/or household to save money!
Most market economists agree that pricing carbon is an efficient and business-friendly way to reduce emissions. The federal government is working with the provinces and territories to put a national price on carbon, but they need your support.
All levels of government, from municipal to federal, can have a big effect on our ability to lower emissions, prepare and adapt to climate change and shift to a clean-energy economy.
Make sure you are registered to vote and then get informed for all elections — not just the federal ones that get most of the media attention. Research the party, ask questions about climate change at town halls or debates and let your candidates know you are voting for the climate. Candidates often hold a wide range of positions on climate change, so your vote really matters.
If you are too young to vote, encourage your class or school to join a Student Vote program, a parallel election for students under voting age that provides the opportunity to experience participation in the election process.
The first step is registering to vote. You can start with that now by following the links above.
10. Tell your story, listen to others
A healthy planet and stable climate aren’t political issues. It’s all about families, communities, energy systems and humanity’s future. It’s important to get everyone on board, working toward climate solutions.
People are more often influenced by friends than by experts, so make sure to talk about climate change with friends and family. Tell your stories — about changes you’ve seen where you live, how climate change has affected you, and the changes you’re making to lessen your impact. Encourage friends and family to explore the top 10 things they can do about climate change.
Join David and his team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share ideas and articles, write comments and help get the word out. Or, write your own letter to the editor about climate action in your local paper.