There is no one-size-fits-all method or strategy on how to respond to both the change in climate and relatively recent rise in surface temp. If we’ve lived long enough, then we are fully aware that climatic conditions have changed. And, changed they have!
Climate can be summed up using three letters: R-A-M; R for remedy; A for advocacy; and M for mystery. What do I mean? Well, remedy first for righting climate; advocacy next for spreading the word; followed by mystery last for the field research being conducted to uncover more truths about the science and sides of climate that are still not yet known.
Breaking it down even more, some have taken it upon themselves to make personal life changes, such as adding solar, buying an electric or hybrid vehicle, weatherizing or weatherproofing a domicile. That’s remediation.
Others, meanwhile, have elected to engage in protests, marches and the like to raise awareness and draw attention to the situation. This is advocacy/activism.
While still others choose to examine, investigate, research and write about the changing climate by the applied approach or method of their choosing and/or present whatever findings are uncovered to the masses in the public sphere, the purpose of which is to inform all of collected-connected data. That’s the mystery part.
In trying to lay this all out, what’s important to bear in mind is that everyone’s situation is different. The way one person is affected by a warming world and a shifting climate, may not be the case for all who’ve been likewise impacted. That’s the first truth.
Next, my situation being what it is and it being unique to me, for me, what mitigating approach works or has in the past worked, will not be applicable in every such situation. Which makes trying to suggest to others programs, solutions and strategies, a bit tricky.
As a case in point, it has become common knowledge that transportation is the single-largest contributor to accumulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere. This being the situation, a main spotlight has since been shined on the motor-vehicle component and how GHGs can best be reduced from within this one mode sub-sector. In the United States the coverage area this spotlight casts its beam on right now at least, appears to be concentrated on the electric vehicle. It is one resolution certainly worth noting. However, it’s not the only one and it, in my view, is questionable as to whether it is actually the best or most practical. Many seem to think it is.
In California, it seems there is sufficient grounds to exclusively go the electrified-automobility route. And, with good reason: the Golden State, if it (was)* an independent country, would have the world’s 5th largest economy and be ranked 20th in terms of its annual GHG-emissions output. Currently, certain in-effect mandates require in-state GHGs to be lowered by 40 percent below that which existed in 1990 (by 2030)* and by 80 percent below the 1990 threshold by mid-century. These are the challenges that must be overcome if California is to meet specified GHG targets. Deploying zero-emissions vehicles to the exclusion of all other types of motor vehicles, is but one option to help meet state GHG-emissions targets.
Certainly more could be done and is, like here again in California with its current involvement in the building of its high-speed rail line; with some residents exploiting to the hilt concepts like ride-sharing, embracing such alternatives as city and regional public transportation, choosing to walk and/or bike more instead of driving, adopting and engaging in work-from-home or remote-work-based activities, and various other practices along these lines. These are just some of the possibilities out there. And, that’s just related to transportation and travel. And options should in no way be limited. You can’t use what isn’t available.
Around the home, meanwhile, there are other approaches people can pursue.
For some, getting rid of that maintenance-intensive and water-thirsty front and/or back lawn and replacing it with a xeriscape could be a good place to start. Others may want to invest in home solar. I know a few people that have.
Microgrids is another selection. Improving building efficiencies, weatherizing homes, regulating indoor temperatures with efficient home heating and cooling systems, fans, interior and exterior window treatments or dressings, insulation, appliance considerations, even switching inside and outdoor lights from fluorescent to light-emitting diode lighting can all make a tremendous difference. And, the really interesting thing about making these kinds of improvements is that in the long run, large sums of money can be saved, even on those devices where up-front costs can be considerable.
As it pertains to your situation, you may want to start small and then go from there. It’s prudent to work within budgets, always being cognizant of what one can afford.
Now that we’ve got an up-close-and-personal-look at the remedy side of the picture, it’s time to move on to advocacy.
Who would have predicted a century ago that today there would be as much interest in the climate as there is? You have to ask yourself, climate-wise, going that number of years back compared to today, are conditions really that different? We know they are.
My suspicion is had the world not warmed to the degree that it has in the time that it has – over the last 270-some years, there would not be all the attention being paid to climate that there is of late.
That attention manifests itself in many ways. We’re talking activism, advocacy, publicity – all ways that have enabled the alarm to be sounded, allowed individual and collective voices to be heard and facilitated information spread and exchange.
And, apparently, the message is getting across, continuing to reach more and more ears, and is coming in loud and clear. Inevitably, the narrative would find people averse to receiving it, falling on deaf ears, but the truth of the matter is a countless many have been open-minded and accepted what science says is real. The evidence is clear. There are enough who have witnessed or suffered climate-caused calamities themselves, and can give testimony as to the consequential effects that climate change has dealt them, for them the impact is all too real, hitting much closer to home than they would prefer.
It should be no mystery that climate change is one of the world’s main preoccupations and for good reason. That said, there is still much about climate and climate change we just don’t understand. It’ll take time before more of the unknowns become knowns.
That’s where research is golden and where researchers come in. Without this, there is no discovery, no unearthing of secrets that have been hidden for eons and could reveal much more about the earth’s climate and related geologic history, in other words, what transpired geologically and how may have climate shaped the geology? The known unknowns. The importance of research in this area can’t be overstated.
There is just a bevy of actions and practices one can adopt as their own to help make the earth a better place and at the same time address both climate change and a warming planet.
Big or baby steps, it’s all good.
* Last updated on Sept. 1, 2023 at 6:11 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.
Update: Sept. 30, 2023 at 5:28 a.m. PDT.
⁃ Alan Kandel
Corresponding, connected home-page-featured image: Mario Biondi