NASA recently released a report with some dire warnings. Natural and social scientists developed a new model which suggests that a ‘perfect storm’ of crises could unravel global social and economic systems.
This article has been passed around the Internet and caused a friend of mine to react in dismay:
“…on a personal level, what do you all DO with this information? I’m asking in all sincerity and not really looking to debate. [I’m} just trying to wrap my head around how to keep moving forward, raising my little family, while still trying to make conscious choices about our impact on the environment. but not feeling like it really even matters at this rate….”
It is easy to despair at such news. We feel small and the problem feels huge. Our political leaders do not inspire confidence and seem focused on defending the profits of large Wall Street and Energy companies while the world falls apart around us. Does it matter? Is there anything we as individuals can do? Yes, there is a lot that we can do on both the political and personal levels.
On the political level there is much that needs to be done. I live in central Virginia which has been a nexus of climate change denial and preservation of inequality. We have a long way to go and much hard work that needs to be done. However, it is important that everybody everywhere do what they can. First of all, talk to your neighbors about these problems. The news media keeps us distracted with a disappearing Malaysian airliner and celebrity gossip. People need to know what is going on. It seems like small steps but they build over time. Join local grassroots activist groups. Invite speakers to talk about these issues in community forums. Work to support politicians that address these issues.
On the personal level there are also many small things that you can to reduce consumption. They add up if done by many people over time. Here are a few ideas. They are focused on global warming, but in practice address most environmental problems which are derived from waste and over-consumption. I’m sure you are already doing some, others you might have missed: