“Do what you can where you can”
By Kelsey Taylor
The IPCC report just released has confirmed what a lot of us have feared: we have caused irreversible change to this planet. And that change is happening far faster than scientists previously predicted. If we continue on our current path, it will forever alter the world as we know it.
While this news is devastating, it can provide us with the necessary push to take immediate action. What we need most at this time is hope. Watching the climate updates pour in during what are already unprecedented times can be a lot to process. This is precisely why we need hope. Hope drives us through unbearable circumstances and encourages us to overcome what appear to be insurmountable odds. We may have caused irreversible change, but the change we decide to make now can propel us into a future of innovation and adaptation.
Many of us are experiencing an overwhelming sense of fear, anxiety, and even anger. The culmination of these emotions can be paralyzing and often make it difficult to know where to begin. Here are several ways to get involved locally and nationally to fight the climate crisis:
Support the efforts of a local organization (like the Grand Rapids Climate Resolution Coalition)
Write letters/emails and call local city commissioners and the mayor to stress the importance of ambitious, immediate climate action (and support the coalition’s Resolution)
Attend a city commission meeting and speak directly to local officials
Join a national organization
Write letters to your senators urging them to take immediate action at the state and federal levels
Write letters/email The White House and put pressure on President Joe Biden
Continue individual action at home
Pick up trash in your local neighborhood
Plant native flowers to increase biodiversity
Walk/use public transport when you can
Research ways to reduce your carbon footprint
While individual action is excellent, the pressure to enact drastic change must be put on local, state, and federal governments as well as the fossil fuel companies, energy utilities, and other corporations that line their pockets. The average citizen did not create this mess. You merely exist in a society that was built to expand and consume without regard for the consequences. The responsibility has been shifted to you, the consumer, in an attempt for certain companies and governments to escape accountability.
The IPCC report is the leverage and scientific evidence we need to demand that these governments be held accountable. It is through your voice that we will be able to do so. Please consider joining the fight in any way that you can. No contribution to the cause is too small. Do what you can where you can. It is through our collective voice that we can seize the power to change the world for the better.
Kelsey Taylor lives in Grand Rapids and is active with Sunrise GR, a member of the Grand Rapids Climate Resolution Coalition. Her hobbies include camping, reading and writing, yoga, and spending time with her pets.
(Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash)