After years of debate and stagnation since the 1996 Kyoto protocol, it looks like we’re headed towards an agreement that will require both developed and developing nations to cut their carbon emissions. However, it is yet to be determined whether the agreement will do enough to curb the rise in heat-trapping greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, and if the countries involved will keep their promises.
Time only knows, but that doesn’t mean we should wait around and hope that the politicians of the world will meet the responsibilities that this agreement will ask of them.
Individuals have an impact (see Apple Computers / Steve Jobs). Earlier this year the collective action of a few thousand concerned citizens was able to raise the sound of alarm on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to such a point that President Obama could no longer ignore them. He sent the proposal back to the State department for review, likely killing that branch of the pipeline. Any victory by a few thousand individuals over a trillion dollar per year industry is worth celebrating, and is proof of the fact that we, as individuals, can have a huge impact on the planet we live on.
There are many ways we as individuals can start creating a cleaner more sustainable world. It starts by taking a look at what we buy and whom we buy from. But the possibilities don't stop there.
We can all get our “skin in the game” when it comes to clean energy, and we don't have to be homeowners. There are solar gardens and solar cooperatives popping up everyday that allow renters and homeowners with a low electricity bills to make a micro investment in a shared system. At Everybody Solar you can direct your donor dollars to help charities go solar.
Another nonprofit, Grid Alternatives, donates solar to low-income families.
While we can and should continue to pressure our global leaders to act on climate change, we can all also make a difference, on our own, right now. Seemingly small steps to improve the world around us can have a great impact if enough of us choose to act.
Written by: Youness Scally