Zoë Whitney
Everybody can do something – ”Give up what you can; no stress if you can’t”, argues Zoë Whitney.
Foto: Private

Stop procrastinating the climate

”You can change your lifestyle and the system itself to reflect the current climate reality”, writes Uppsala exchange student Zoë Whitney.

Has Greta Thunberg’s Fridays For Future got you stressed about the climate crisis? Collectively, we’ve been procrastinating on the climate. The School Strike 4 Climate, Extinction Rebellion, and record heat in parts of Europe are like someone closing the YouTube tab on your computer. You glance at the blank essay document you’ve been avoiding behind it. Then you check the clock. Shit, you’ve got until midnight to stop the climate catastrophe. Better start cramming!
You want to join the strikes. But you’re a college student. The state doesn’t require you to go to school. If you skip class every Friday, no one cares. No one needs you to get an education. So how can you, a pizza-eating wreck, call for the rapid decline in fossil fuel emissions necessary in the next 8.5 years to avoid crossing the tipping point at which the climate crisis will be too extreme to mitigate? You can change your lifestyle and the system itself to reflect the current climate reality.

Shit, you’ve got until midnight to stop the climate catastrophe. Better start cramming!

As an individual, the most important things to avoid are flying, driving, having biological children, and consuming animal products (according to Wynes and Nicholas, 2017, The climate mitigation gap, Environmental Research Letters). We give up what we can. We don’t give up something if it will prevent us from fulfilling our basic human needs. For instance, becoming vegan is hard but reasonable for most middle-class people in the first world. However, it is not realistic for a low-income parent in a food desert. Give up what you can; do not stress if you can’t.

For larger-scale, systemic change, we can each bring our unique skills or interests to the environmental movement and apply them effectively. One of the most effective ways to spend our time is by volunteering for Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). CCL tackles carbon emissions head-on through national policy solutions. Starting in 2007 with one man inspired by one of Al Gore’s in-person presentations on the global heating, this non-profit, grassroots organization has become an international phenomenon across 541 chapters, one of which is right here, in Uppsala. The culture of CCL welcomes those of all political inclinations willing to communicate respectfully about fair, effective, and sustainable climate solutions. Our main belief, supported by twelve years of organizational data, is that building clear, respectful relationships with the media, elected officials, and the community yields results. For instance, chapters in the US have seen successes such as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act reaching the House and Senate, 63 members of congress joining the Climate Solutions Caucus, and over 1,500 volunteers meeting with 529 congressional offices during this year’s lobby day at the capital. Creating these changes as a volunteer is extremely empowering and provides opportunities to develop as a person. We practice leadership by organizing meetings, advocacy by having conversations with elected officials and their staff, education by tabling at public events, and writing by submitting pieces to be published in newspapers. (In fact, you are currently reading my first ever op-ed!) We have the power to change the climate crisis. Discover that power through CCL.





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