Earth Day 2020 theme – Climate Action – comes at a time when critical climate negotiations have been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are crawling in slow and late (Chile, Singapore, Japan, Moldova, the Marshall Islands, Norway, and Suriname at the only countries that have submitted their updated contributions so far), and vulnerable countries around the world are simultaneously facing two terrors: Climate change and Covid-19.
This may inspire you to take to the streets and demand positive change. The reality is that’s not possible right now. Though there is definitely colossal power in organising massive climate marches, like the 2019 Youth Climate March and coordinating town hall meetings to increase your community’s climate awareness, quarantine advises otherwise.
This paints a very gloomy picture for decisive climate action. But the Climate Tracker staff reminds you that climate action comes in many forms. Here are just a few climate actions you can engage in, without putting your family or yourself at risk of infection or getting locked up:
Check your Privilege
Martin Vainstein, Argentina
You could take the day and reflect on how climate inaction impacts others more vulnerable than you and how what we do might affect others. We live in an interconnected world and this plays out in our current climate and social crises. It demands that we think beyond ourselves and toward others more, toward humanity as a whole.
Use your Social Media for Good
Lina Yassin, Sudan
Social media is a powerful tool for social change. Remember those lyrics “The revolution will not be televised”? Well, believe it or not, the revolution could definitely start with the tap-tap of some keyboards, when great thought is put into action online.
As Lina says, “whether you use your own social media platforms or blogs, it’s important to get and keep the climate conversation going.” She warns that climate change impacts are only going to get more severe with the levels of inaction we are seeing right now, so use your online voice to sound out a warning to governments around the world. They need to wake up and see that we all need the development and implementation of better climate policies.
“Climate needs to be at the top of governments’ agenda as well, so this is the perfect time to start more conversations about climate change and to make these stories more relatable to the wider populations of the world.”
#PlantYourPlate to Fight Climate Crisis
Dizzanne Billy, Trinidad and Tobago
Start a home garden! It’s great to beat the quarantine boredom, it creates a sense of peace in your mind during these difficult times, but it is also powerful in fostering a sense of food security. This is a step in the right direction for climate action, particularly for the most vulnerable countries and small island nations.
Let’s use this time to take stock of what we put into our bodies and try starting a plant-based lifestyle, with the same fruits and vegetables we plant in our own yards! This approach is beneficial to your body and mind but it also does wonders for the planet. The meat industry has already taken a nosedive as veganism and vegetarianism goes mainstream. So why not take yourself out of the meat addiction lane?
After all, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Office (FAO), the meat industry has been contributing significantly to the production of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
Read that Climate Change Book
Santiago Sáez Moreno, Spain
If you’re anything like me, your bedside features an ever-growing pile of books that you intend to read “as soon as you have time”. “Next weekend”, you swear to yourself, “I’ll stay home and read that book”. But then the weekend comes, and friends, family and other social compromises drag you out of your place. I know I know, I would have liked to stay home too…
Well, now you (and I) HAVE to stay home, so I’m afraid you’ve run out of excuses. Throw a couple of climate books in the pile and get up-to-date with some of the great climate writers of our time. You’ll learn a lot and you’ll have the great satisfaction of seeing that pile shrink for once.
- The Uninhabitable Earth, by David Wallace-Wells
- Losing Earth, by Nathaniel Rich
- Climate Leviathan, by Geoff Mann and Joel Wainwright
- Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway
- No one is too small to make a difference, by Greta Thunberg
Carpool the grocery runs
Agnes Saycon, The Philippines
This pandemic is affecting us all disproportionately. Not all of us can afford to stock up at the grocery, and the digital divide prevents many people from working or studying from home.
As Agnes suggests, if you are fortunate enough to be able to afford groceries and have means of transport, then consider using this to benefit your neighbours and the environment.
Ensure you have all your personal protective equipment and carpool your grocery runs to further reduce the number of cars on the road. This contributes to the decline in carbon emissions.
“Our neighbourhood has a number of senior citizens who are not allowed to go outside during this quarantine. I help them by calling them the day before our scheduled time to buy groceries and find out what they need at home,” Agnes shared.
Katherine Cheng, Hong Kong
Not tired of Zoom yet? With classes and meetings from around the world being shifted to the digital space, this is a great opportunity to connect with and learn from expert climate journalists and organisers across far-reaching regions and timezones. One-on-one interviews and group webinars can be found everywhere you look – for example: Earth Day 50 has organized a 3 day virtual stage for climate action, but even more events can be found outside of this week as well.
The choice is yours, but out of this adverse situation, we can all find innovative ways to engage in climate action. Let us keep the movement alive and strengthen it for the future. –