They Hear Us – In places like Washington, DC, the policymakers and power brokers long ago learned not to be swayed by day to day shifts in public opinion. They operate in a bubble of power, influence and money. The people with the money hold power over those who would choose to run for re-election, and in turn, the money people’s interests are taken into close consideration when a decision needs to be made that may affect their businesses. Sure, we the people elect the politicians, but for decades there has been a shift from doing what is right for the constituents, to doing what keeps you in power. It is a cycle not isolated to Washington; it can be found in governments the world over.
This cycle is starting to change however. In the article Climate change’s surprise twist, by Amy Harder, the author explains how the pendulum is starting to swing back toward green policies. For the first time ever, shifts are occurring that are setting the groundwork for significant action on climate change. This year in Davos, at the World Economic Forum, the top 5 global economic risks were all climate related. During the Davos meetings, the US president even announced a plan to plant trees to combat climate change (a huge reversal from simply mocking it). In Washington, the house of congress is introducing plans of their own to counter the Green New Deal being promoted by Democrats. The GOP understands how important the topic is to constituents of all political parties and is now taking steps to at least appear to be proactive. To be clear, there is still a long road ahead if the current president remains in power after 2020, but either way there is change on the horizon.
It’s not just the United States either. The world over, politicians are waking up to the fact that climate change is real and it is coming fast. China, India and other big, influential countries are making significant efforts to curb emissions and do their part. China is making change using economic forces as drivers and India has an aggressive plan to meet Paris accord carbon limits. India’s plan includes transitioning to renewable energy from coal. Despite having huge coal reserves, they have elected to start leaving it in the ground rather than burning it. Their government recognizes that low cost solar energy is not only clean, but it is a path to providing virtually limitless power to its people – raising them up from poverty and putting them on a level playing field with more developed nations.
Real change is coming, and it is being driven by people like you and I and the millions of people that protested on #FridaysforFuture last year. It is apparent that the other side (those that would continue the carbon economy), are strongest when we are fractured. As a fractured group we are comparatively powerless as individuals. While it is true that individually we may not have a direct effect on the decisions of the politicians, in large enough numbers we are heard.
What can you do? Make some noise but do it effectively; with purpose and intent. You want to decrease the climate anxiety keeping you awake at night? Posting about it on Facebook or Twitter is ok, but deep down we know it is not nearly enough. We also know that an argument someone on social media plays into their hands (besides, the denier you are arguing with might not even be a human anyway). Take the high road and stay out of the muck. Join a climate action group or a protest like Fridays for Future. Make your opinion known in meaningful way. You will feel empowered and a part of something greater than you as just one voice. Your voice will be magnified by millions of others with shared purpose – and you might even make some new friends.
Fractured and alone we are powerless, together we are a voice of millions. We are a force for change and we are increasing in power and effectiveness.
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