How to Move from Concern to Action

A study conducted by The Yale Program on Climate Communication has determined that only 21% of all Americans are actively doing something to address Climate Change in their everyday lives, reflecting their concern in the choices they make regarding how they vote, where they buy their food and the transportation they use. The same study also shows that another 30%, (that's over 100 million other Americans), are concerned but are not taking the actions necessary to address the crisis. If a good number of these 100 million Americans come to the realization that this crisis is the most serious threat to the human race since the Second World War, and that their actions will make a difference to the outcome, I believe we can get global warming under control by 2050. This idea is the premise behind In Our Hands.

Many people ask me what they can really do to make a difference. My first suggestion is to start looking at your current actions through a new lens. Become aware of the actions you are unconsciously taking in your every day life that are adding to the problem, and then choose among the numerous possible actions you could easily take to help solve the problem.

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Playing your part to solve this crisis can be both easy and rewarding. And opportunities abound. For example, in your personal life you can simply start voting for candidates who have shown a commitment to reducing the use of fossil fuels, building resilience to the potential ravages of climate change and/or dealing with the water and agricultural land issues that are at the heart of the sustainability crisis. Here are a few more examples of actions you can take in your personal life:

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When people ask “but what can I do?” they are usually thinking about actions in their personal lives. But there are also many activities in one's community to choose from. For example, you could invite six or so friends to join you in a Climate Action and Discussion Group to discuss the ideas in In Our Hands. Depending on the interests of the group you could delve into some of the 180 TED talks, documentary films and books that are referenced in chapter 6 (links to these resources can be accessed by one click in the Kindle or iBook versions of the book). The group might then choose actions to work on together. In essence you’d be creating a book club which not only discusses an interesting topic but takes meaningful actions as well. For many people, collaborating as a group can be far more satisfying and enjoyable than working alone. Email me at Wilford@WilfordWelch.com and I’d be delighted to help you get going. Here are a few more actions you can take in your community:

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Among the community related actions outlined in the above image is one of my favorites, and one of the most powerful: Work with local authorities to require that your utility company give you the option to get a portion or all of your electricity from renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind. Pacific Gas and Electric Company supplies our electricity here in the Bay Area. We pay about $10 more a month to have 100% of our electricity come from renewable energy sources. As the demand for renewable energy sources goes up, that option will soon cost you no more than having your electricity come from the fossil fuels which will destroy the lives of your grandchildren.

There may also be opportunities for you to make a difference at your place of work. Businesses have to listen to their employees as well as their customers and their investors if they are to survive and prosper. Why not become an “intrapreneur” and make constructive suggestions about how your company might reduce its electricity usage or shift from fossil fuels to solar or wind. If you identify actions your company can take that will not only save the planet but also save them money, they will be more likely to take action - and reward you as well! Here are a few more examples of actions you can take at work:

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