It has been a month since Copenhagen, and since I have had some time to reflect and think of ways in which we need to move forward in order to get ready for COP16 in Mexico and to help mitigate and adapt to the problem of Climate Change. After all, if there is one thing that I have learned is that we have the power to drive change. International negotiations, although critical to drive a cohesive change and hold accountability from different parties, are not the only solution that we have. We need to continue moving forward and take action on an individual level in order to make an impact that in turn demands results from our government. I have come to summarize what I personally need to do in 3 main categories, hopefully you will find these ideas helpful and will use them to guide in making a change….
1. Track and reduce my carbon footprint. I know that I am not perfect and that there are always more things that I can do to reduce my carbon footprint. Also as an engineer, I know that step one to make any sort of reduction is to keep account of your carbon footprint. It is easy and there are many small things you can do to reduce your emissions. Lead by example and make sure that others see the benefits of your actions, they might choose to join. Here is a link to a calculator that I have used. http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html
2. Educate! Since being back from Copenhagen I have encountered many people that are not necessarily involved in the climate movement. I have met several people who are still skeptics or that just don’t have enough information in order to care. This is why education is key, it opens opportunities for others to learn about the subject and decide if they want to make a difference. Education does not have to be formal, it could be over a cup of coffee, with family and friends or coworkers! Stay up to date with the news and the science and share your knowledge with others. Facts speak for themselves and they do cause people to see things in a different light. I always find this link helpful when looking for accurate data on climate change. http://www.ipcc.ch/
3. Let your representatives know. If there was one message that I heard through Copenhagen from the different politicians and negotiators that were at the conference it was this… they all encouraged the youth to continue pressuring our politicians, let them know that we want a sustainable future and that we are the ones carrying the burden of the decisions made today. We need to understand that although we are a strong and impactful group, there are still many powerful people that for some reason or another choose to not believe in the facts and are putting pressure on government to not pass climate legislation or to not be capped by carbon emissions. We need to ensure that we have a louder voice, that we carry a message and that we ensure this message reaches the highest levels of government. We need to continue working hard and make sure that our message makes a difference.