In the summer of 2015, a group of climate change mitigation activists hung from a bridge in Portland in an attempt to block a Shell icebreaker from drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. The bravery of these activists was a powerful way to raise awareness about the need for climate change mitigation.
As effective as they are for raising awareness, hanging from a bridge for days, or blocking pipeline construction like in North Dakota is not something most people can manage. These types of efforts require time, resources and grit. But the realities we are facing today that challenge climate change mitigation require all of us to somehow get involved and become activists. We can no longer remain complacent and outsource climate change mitigation efforts to Non Government Organizations such as Greenpeace and others.
What are these realities?
Climate change deniers will populate all three branches of our government in 2017. There are currently 182 climate change deniers in Congress. President elect Donald Trump has expressed doubt that climate change is real, and he is filling positions in his cabinet with people who think similarly. Even worse, there seems to be a real possibility that an oil executive could occupy a high-ranking position in the Trump administration. Such disastrous cabinet decisions is a gift that keeps on giving, as just recently Scott Pruitt, who was behind the law suit to stop President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, was nominated to be the President elect’s choice for heading the Environmental Protection Agency (What??). With the coal and oil industry having such powerful allies in the government, hopes of lobbying our federal lawmakers for supporting legislature towards climate change mitigation will become even harder. Now, more than ever, there is need for individual citizens to become micro-activists and inspire their communities to pressure business and local lawmakers to push for change. It will take all of us to create the sea of change needed to save our planet and the future of our species.
Educate, organize, mobilize towards climate change mitigation
Scott Pruitt’s main issue with President Obama’s Clean Power Plan seems to be federal overreach into state affairs in making choices about energy policy. What this means for climate change activism is more local action with a “to do” list, which includes the following:
- Educate ourselves about our local politicians and their stance on climate change and sustainability
- Educate ourselves about climate change mitigation efforts, if any, in our local government and what we can do to support them.
- Educate our friends, family and acquaintances about what we have learned about these issues. Sharing this information via our social media accounts would be an efficient way to do so
- Organize our friends, family and acquaintances who want to get involved in climate change activism into groups. Social media platforms, for example Facebook, offer free and convenient ways for creating such groups.
- Mobilize our organized communities to make phone calls, write letters to our local representatives, and to become active voters on local elections. Social media platforms can also be invaluable for this kind of effort.
- Mobilize our organized communities to support businesses that place a high priority on sustainability
- Mobilize our organized communities to live a more simple and sustainable life
Our planet is getting warmer every year, arctic ice is melting, sea levels are rising, weather extremes are becoming more common. However, instead of mitigation or preparation, we are faced with a fight against our own government which is soon to be dominated by climate change deniers. This will not be an easy fight, but it will take each and every one of us to care and to become educated, organized and mobilized towards driving climate change mitigation.