Climate action must be driven by personal connections
COP 26 in Glasgow has given us plenty of coverage of, and evidence around, the effects of climate
change on the planet, and the potentially devastating impacts that we will see in the coming years if significant and immediate action isn’t undertaken to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The first week of the climate conference has seen statements and speeches from governments, scientists, activists, business leaders and others around the critical need to act, admonishing those who aren’t doing enough and demanding for global action.
However, it can be too easy to miss that there are many reasons to act, but the ones most likely to inspire individuals are those that are most relevant and impactful to themselves and their lives.
While many people would like to believe that they are good (and that’s true for many) the reality is that we have a greater pull to issues with which we have a personal connection.
While the image of the minister of Tuvalu delivering his statement standing in water up to his knees (Tuvalu minister to address Cop26 knee deep in water to highlight climate crisis and sea level rise) was exceptionally powerful and should inspire action, many people would struggle to identify Tuvalu on the map.
Why does climate change matter to you?
My personal reasons for wanting climate action are to try to give me son a better quality of life. I’m also physically active and enjoy the outdoors, which is why I support Protect Our Winters U.K.
However, these aren’t likely to inspire others to action to.
So, it’s important that we remember this and remind people of all the reasons the fight for climate action is so important:
If you have children or grandchildren, or wish to start a family in the future, you should know that the affects of climate change will be more severe in the future and that children are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
If you are a farmer climate change is altering regional growing conditions and making them more unpredictable. Farmers are finding it harder to consistently grow enough food to meet increasing demand.
If you make your livelihood from fishing or enjoy fishing as a pastime climate change is having a profound impact on our oceans and marine life. Its effects are changing the distribution of fish stocks and their food.
If you enjoy outdoor sports extreme weather events, related to rising temperatures, have already disrupted some of the world's most high-profile sports in recent years from a typhoon disrupting games at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, to smoke from bush fires stopping play at the Australian Tennis Open and golf courses disrupted by rising sea levels and coastal erosion. Meanwhile snow availability is a major problem for winter sports
If you are religious, contrary to some publicised views, caring about climate change should be one of the most important issues, as major religions believe that followers have a duty to care for God’s creations, to protect the most vulnerable, who are undoubtedly the most impacted by climate change, and to care for others. Christians are taught that we have a responsibility towards each other to protect it. We cannot think of ourselves as isolated from others or from creation.
These are just some examples.
The point is – to understand why climate change should matter to you, think about what you care about, what do you love doing, who do you care about the most and who you believe you are as a person. Because climate change likely effects those things. And once you know those things, doing something can be much easier to justify.