Addressing Earth’s changing climate is one of mankind’s greatest challenges, and at the same time the biggest development opportunity of this century. We only have one planet to share with 7 billion, all needing food and shelter, many wanting modern appliances, entertainment and comforts. We need to continue to reduce our ecological impacts now (mitigation) and prepare our communities for harsher conditions, less resources, and bigger disasters (adaptation) in the future.
The Risk of Not Taking Action
Military leaders around the world understand the significant risk that climate change poses. Political instability and international conflict stemming from crop collapse, mass migration and natural disasters can lead to war and violence unless the proper aid and support are ready and available. Even without the threat of war, climate disasters, extended droughts and changes in food production opportunities threaten to make many climate refugees. We can’t just wait and see on climate.
Top Down, Bottom Up
The top down strategy is lead by laws and policies that drive low pollution behavior. Humans have been writing environmental law for well over 1,000 years and as we learn more about how our actions impact our ecosystem we will need new laws that protect the ever more scarce wild and pristine spaces on Earth. We also need to plan for human livability as growing global population demands resources from nature beyond the planet’s ability to replenish.
Sensing an urgency to act before national governments can set appropriate policy has spurred the bottom up action. Bottom up is the important work of building grassroots support via local government and using market forces. In many ways the real climate action is taking place at the city level. It turns out that cities are quick to see the impacts of climate change and have been among to first to take action. We must encourage our governments to take action.
Don’t Wait Act Today
You can do your part by working toward low carbon consumption. Farming, transportation and building operations are the biggest climate polluting activities, so look for ways to be part of the solution. One of the easiest strategies for lower carbon living is to just consume less stuff. Planet based diets are climate friendly. If you must eat meat choose chicken and free range animals when possible. Make your next car electric, or better yet switch to a bicycle and public transportation. See that your living space is well insulated and ask your utility provider about clean energy choices. Support renewable energy.
There are many personal actions you can take to reduce your carbon impact and all of them send a signal from “the bottom” that says you support climate action. We must take action as individuals to reduce our carbon output.
Share your actions on social media pages.
~ Ban Ki-moon