The weight of the world is on some very key shoulders right now. Specifically, in Paris, COP21, the world climate summit that has been filling my twitterfeed, inbox and all available brainspace. Canada is back, as our leaders have happily announced, and has even pledged $2.65 BILLION dollars to climate change funding for developing countries over the next 5 years (‘billion’ deserves all caps, don’t ya think?).
Climate health is key not just because we love hugging trees and snuggling polar bears (not literally for the last one, ouch!) … it’s about human health, national defence and global security too. As Elizabeth Kolbert noted in the New Yorker, it’s no accident that the crisis in Syria was preceded by 4 years of failed rains and failed crops. On our current path, by 2050, Syria-style crises may be all too routine … unless we change course now. While our political leaders negotiate and discuss over the next 2 weeks, that leaves all of us wondering what to do.
So what can you do?
We talked about the little things in “Nine Tiny Ways to be a Big Hero” and “7 Habits of Highly Ecoffective People“. These are all great and I recommend trying 1, 2, 7 or 9 of them. You can try a Revolution or 2, and earn your Golden Light Switch as well. But the best is to work together to multiply your effect (it’s also infinitely more fun!). I’m talking about joining a green team at your work, school, or community. There are lots out there, and if you can’t find one, you can start it yourself. UHN has an amazing one with almost 700 volunteer staff that I am lucky to work with (pssst, if you happen to be at UHN, check out the green team intranet page and email me to join).
As they say, we’re all in this together … and thank goodness for that.
UPDATE (Dec 14, 2015) :
We’re so glad to see there was a major worldwide environmental agreement in Paris at COP21! That’s 195 countries coming together to try and turn things around, planetarily-speaking … a great reason to be hopeful. The nutshell version:
- to cap the global temperature rise at 1.5 C
- to cut greenhouse gas emissions (saving energy with Operation TLC is all about that!)
- to help poorer nations reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change (largely caused by us wealthier nations)
- to become carbon-neutral by 2050
- to check in every 5 years (like a group weigh-in)
- to start NOW! (even better, yesterday, but without a time machine, now’ll do)