GEOG 438W
Human Dimensions of Global Warming

Getting Involved

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What can you do to become more involved in taking action on climate change (should you want to do that, it is of course entirely your choice)? Where would you start? This semester has taught us that the push and pull dynamics of large scale policy initiatives (top down) and grass roots efforts (bottom up) both serve a critical role in moving this conversation along. Below are some ideas for you to consider, and you can probably come up with many others I should add to this list.

  • Be informed. Perhaps this is the most pivotal piece in the entire puzzle. Be an informed citizen - and not just about climate change, but about all of the issues which are important to you and your family. Understand how your elected officials are representing you on these issues, and if their views do not align with yours, work to elect those candidates who do. In our nonstop sharing social media world, it is easier than ever to be a squeaky wheel. You can email your elected representatives, sign digital petitions, and easily track voting records. Make sure your representatives are representing your best interests. They are there to serve you.
  • Be engaged. This is more easily said than done, because it requires us all to step out from behind our computer screens and get out into our communities. Look for local chapters of larger organizations. You may find as you branch out that you connect with people who share similar values. Building these sort of networking ties can be accidentally beneficial down the road.
  • Be mindful, but realistic. As we've learned in our readings for Lessons 11 and 12, it can be quite easy to become entirely overwhelmed by the enormity of the climate change issue. And often severe overwhelming feelings paralize us from taking even incrementally beneficial actions. Accept that you're not an environmentally neutral being on this planet, and short of selling all of your worldly possesions and living nomadically, you likely won't ever be. And that's ok. Focus on what you can change. Piece by piece, it will add up to meaningful change.