Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing the planet. Scientists overwhelmingly believe climate change is happening, is primarily caused by humans, and is already having major impacts on the planet, its people, and the economy around the globe.
But, three important factors — economics, innovation, and people power — will help drive the improvements we need to see in the world. Renewables and energy efficiency have become cheaper than many fossil fuels like coal to power our electrical system. Innovations in battery technology for electric vehicles and storage, new financial tools, and more, are popping every day across the globe. People are stepping up everywhere demanding a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels.
The combination of urgency for action and opportunity for impact means now is the time for getting involved in climate change issues and clean energy.
Here are some suggestions for getting started:
- Get educated. My favorite sources of information are Climate Cast, a weekly round-up of the main trends on climate and clean energy; and the writings of David Roberts and Thomas Friedman.
- Get networked. There are so many people working on these issues in the public sector, NGO, and business spaces. Reach out to a few people and get to know the topic and the context. Leaders in all of these sectors want to talk and listen.
- Get focused. There are literally hundreds of ways to make an impact on climate change. You can work at different levels — global, national, regional, state, local. You can be an investor in a clean energy business, a board member for a great NGO, a citizen activist pressuring government to act, a donor. You can work on solar or transportation or energy storage or dozens of other slices of the pie. To solve the climate crisis, we need to succeed at every level. There is no silver bullet. Pick one or whatever your time allows.
- Get active. Once you have chosen your focus, get active, and stay with it. Making change does not happen as quickly as we would like. There are ups and downs, frustration and glorious moments.
- Give. You can direct your dollars to organizations like Climate Solutions or through a philanthropic issue fund, such as the Climate Fund.
The climate crisis requires a response unlike anything this planet has ever seen. Fortunately, the opportunities for rapid change through citizen action driving public policy changes; technological and financial innovations to drive down costs of solutions; and the rapidly growing business investments in cleaner options, provide hope that we can indeed prevent the worst impacts of climate change. We can create a world that is cleaner and more equitable.
Original contribution by Gregg Small, Executive Director of Climate Solutions.
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