How are we taking action? - by Steph Whyte

It’s clear that we are living in a time where our systems are in desperate need of change. But how to make these changes, and who can makes these changes, isn’t always so obvious.

Governments have been around since the earliest civilizations, so that individuals could choose someone that they trusted and believed in to represent them in decisions regarding their land, food and health security. That way, everyone else could channel their talents toward other needs in the community. But with our ever-growing populations, these systems become convoluted and people are disillusioned- forgetting why we elect governments in the first place and as a result, ending up in situations like the one we are in now. Our current governments are representing corporations and self-interests over the well-being of their people.

This year alone, the US government has jeopardized our lives by overturning limitations on greenhouse gas emissions by coal industries and vehicles, loosened the regulations of the Endangered Species Act leaving thousands of animals at risk, and ended NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System-  preventing us from monitoring carbon emissions (a tactic to complicate accountability for corporations that may not be adhering to these standards), and so much more (read more about drastic environmental legislation changes here.

But this is not an article about all the problems we’re facing. As a species, we are resourceful, resilient and empathetic- and we are fighting to make sure that we get back on track. The Climate Reality Leadership Training held earlier this fall at the beginning of this year was a powerful example of this.

Thousands of people from around the world gathered to strategize about tangible solutions to the threats to our ecosystems that directly affect our own survival. Conversations, workshops and discussions focused on how we can prevent the waste and misuse of precious resources, and instead make sure that we are carefully and efficiently using what we need and distributing what we have so that we can continue to have thriving communities and ecosystems worldwide. Our friends at Skoll Foundation did a great job summarizing some key takeaways from the event.

Based on the invigorating discourse at this event, there here are some things you can do right now to ensure we are creating a desirable, sustainable place to live:

Put your money where your mouth is

Or as this phrase is also often referred to, “vote with your dollars”. While we remain dependent on corporations for our food, energy, and materials, it is imperative that we demonstrate to them what values are important to us. Choose LEED certified buildings, Organic foods, package-free items. When consumers begin leaning their purchases towards a direction, the companies will follow.

Get out and VOTE

Many of the problems today exist because the people we have representing us have values that don’t necessarily align with our own. In every election, make sure you are choosing people who you trust will make the right decisions, and speak up if there are changes you want to see.

Lead by example

One less straw doesn’t make a difference. But the ripple effect of small, everyday choices is monumental. Show your friends, family and even strangers what you think needs to be done, and change will follow.

Denise Braun Ryan