What can I do about Climate Change?
The Australian Psychological Society - peak body for psychologists in Australia - considered the question and came up with:
"Climate change is the biggest threat to the wellbeing of future generations and to the world we love. If we work together, we can stop its worst effects. Sometimes climate change seems too big a problem for any one person to tackle and this is one of the big psychological barriers that hinders action on climate change. But in fact we all can do something, and these contributions all add up. Psychologists working on behaviour change know that just starting somewhere helps us to engage with the issue and start to create the world we want to see. It also helps us realise how much we need the community to get on board to pressure for bigger social and political change to tackle the scale of the problem".
"Acting personally and collectively to reduce our carbon footprint is a significant coping strategy. Our actions not only contribute to the solutions to climate change but also help us to feel we are part of the solution, not just the problem, and help manage the distressing feelings aroused by this grave threat to our future. Action is the best antidote to despair and helplessness. It is also the case that speedy action on climate change will not happen unless we create the political will, and that requires action by all of us beyond the context of our personal lives. Getting active is one of the eight strategies outlined in the Climate Change Empowerment Handbook, an APS resource which helps people come to terms and cope with the profound implications of climate change and participate in speedy societal change to restore a safe climate".
The Australian Psychological Society identifies 101 Green Action Tips on how we can address climate change. Some of them stress the need to act collectively as well as personally:
"We need the community to get on board to pressure for bigger social and political change" ...
84. Donate money to help climate groups.
85. Sign petitions on climate change (e.g. about coal mines, dirty power stations).
86. Lobby against policies that place profit before the environment.
87. Pressure your bank and superannuation fund to divest of fossil fuels.
88. Tell your local, state and federal politicians that your vote depends on their climate policies.
89. Lobby your local council to divest of fossil fuels.
90. Join groups pressing for the closure of coal mines, ports, dirty power stations.
91. Lobby for measures of progress which don't just rely on economic indicators.
92. Join groups advocating for higher renewable energy targets.
93. Join groups advocating for higher energy efficiency ratings for houses.
94. Support groups that advocate for just climate policies that protect the most vulnerable in our society.
95. Join in marches and rallies and protests, and bring your friends and family.
Pondering our own role in the wicked problem of climate change can create a dilemma, but if we personally focus on making relatively easy changes within our control and collaborate together at the community level, we will feel less helpless and we will hasten social change.
In our own lifetimes we have seen how entrenched attitudes and behaviours accumulated over centuries can dissolve in the modern era of mass education and mass communication. The anti-littering television campaign of 1969 - Keep Australia Beautiful is a good example. While littering still happens it appropriate disposal of rubbish has become the normative behaviour. Habits can change and attitudes and expectations of the community are taught to new generations. We change our habits when we change what we collectively value.
While many of us do what we can at home, CCBR's primary role is to engage and work with like minded people in the local and wider community to help build the momentum for social change. Specifically we join together and with like minded others to demand change from our political representatives and business leaders.
With every passing year our understanding of the threat grows. Every year the warnings from scientists grow louder and every year the political leadership continues to obfuscate and turn a deaf ear. We are all told that the window of opportunity to deal with the climate crisis is closing and with every delay and lost opportunity the risks of runaway climate change climb and a survivable outcome becomes less likely.
We see our primary role to engage and work with like minded people in the community and build the pressure on business and government to do what it takes to keep global temperature rise to under 1.5 degrees by 2050.
Whatever your interests or skills, we can offer you an opportunity to contribute and we won't ask you to do more than you are able. Visit our campaigns page to see how you can help.
Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle is a non-party political group of volunteers from the local community acting collectively to effect the social and political change required to address the climate crisis.