Not all of us can walk out of our jobs or classes for climate change. How can we contribute?
Recent news of Greta Thunberg sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to address US congressional leaders is refreshing in this era of wearying political drama. She’s a modern global emissary for climate change, here to warn and inspire us.
Other young people are also getting ready for the Global Climate Strike that begins Friday, when students and the adults who support them will walk out of their schools and workplaces. But not all of us can walk out of our jobs or classes for climate change. So how can we contribute?
HERE ARE FIVE ACTIONS WE CAN ALL TAKE:
1. Walk out of the big box store and into your local small business. Large, global retailers have replaced many locally owned businesses, but small hardware chains, drug stores, and grocers can continue to meet our needs. Chances are, some are even within walking distance or a shorter drive than the multi-national chain stores. The large chains have business models that rely on consumers buying more than they need and practices that often lead to poor environmental policies in other countries in order to keep prices low.
2. Buy vegetables. Join a CSA. You don’t have to become a vegetarian or even a vegan, but you can make more mindful choices about food that will benefit you as well as animals. Rather than focusing on buying cheap meat and dairy, which likely involves mistreatment of animals, overuse of antibiotics, and support for large corporations over local farmers, go to the farmer’s market or join a CSA. Keep food production in the hands of the small business farmer and lower your contribution to methane gas emissions.
3. Learn to grow food. You don’t have to have a large space to grow vegetables and herbs. Most can be grown in containers. Begin small, pick a few favorites, and start learning. When you become knowledgable about soil and the effects pesticides have on the environment, you understand what goes in to making healthy food. Even if you only grow a small portion of what you eat, what you learn can help you make better decisions about buying food.
4. Suspend your streaming services for a week (or even better, for a month) and walk to your local library. Instead of watching tv, learn about climate change. Did you know that librarians are valuable and knowledgeable resources? They can help you research any topic you’re interested in. The climate crisis isn’t going to go away tomorrow, even if we all act now. We have to rethink how we live to create long-term change, and that involves arming ourselves with knowledge.
5. Take all that new knowledge from the library and write letters to your congressional leaders. If our citizen voices are louder than the voices of lobbyists who protect corporate interests, we can effect change in our government. Search for your local representatives here. Contact them. And demand they support the Global Climate Strike.
Jessica Trujillo is a former pastry chef and a current accountant and writer who’s gradually converting her yard into a subsistence garden. She uses the power of her voice to propel the voices of others and is the inspiration for VP’s decision to support the Global Climate Strike.