Choose Your Climate Battles Wisely

Climate change seems to be everywhere and nowhere today. We are constantly reminded, lectured and warned about the inevitable effect that climate change will have on this increasingly fragile world. At the same time, it is becoming strikingly apparent that in many areas we are not drastically changing our actions; we are not making the kinds of changes sufficient to reduce the damages of climate change. We are stuck between knowing of our impending climate doom and doing relatively little to make our behaviour more sustainable.

Over the coming weeks and months I want to explore individual components of climate change that make it particularly irksome to solve. This includes collective actions problems, concern (and the justification of a certain level of concern) for future generations, information failures, and arguing for institutional changes as the most essential path needed for this sustainable change. Alongside these pieces, I want us to take a realistic look at what individual action can do in the face of climate change. I will be doing this in a few ways, including looking at how many carbon emissions each of us have left to emit and what this actually translates into in our daily lives.

The magnitude of what can occur is daunting enough to paralyse and overwhelm anyone into inaction.

Themes between articles may differ largely, but the main idea is to understand climate change in two ways: in the scientific, political and social realm, and; in finding a way in which we can bridge the gap between each area, or at least reducing these gaps. I hope to make these areas of climate change less isolated from one another, in such a way that readers have a comprehensive idea of climate change and don’t dwell on either the social, scientific or political aspects of climate change.

But, in this first piece, I want to explain one crucial idea about fighting climate change: Spend your energy wisely. Firstly, it’s a simple mantra for what we need to do to combat climate change without getting bogged down in the specifics. Secondly, it illustrates that climate change is a huge and an inevitable, shitty future. The magnitude of what can occur is daunting enough to paralyse and overwhelm anyone into inaction. Each of us needs to work out how we can best act against climate change, in ways that are sustainable for ourselves and for the earth.

This will largely come from understanding both the big and small picture surrounding climate change. That’s where I hope to come in and discuss the avenues for genuinely sustainable action, for meaningful and successful action. Of course, I am but one perspective, and if you think I’ve got the wrong end of the stick, missing something out, or simply bullshitting, please let me know. I want this to be a place of discussion, not of preaching.

By Olly Henderson