Feeling angry and frustrated about the climate crisis? We have ideas 

Climate Justice

Feeling angry and frustrated about the climate crisis? We have ideas 

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Act on climate and create the seeds for a new society.

Lost in the distressing news that the U.S. Supreme Court voted to block efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, a new survey revealed that the vast majority of Americans – 77% – report they have been personally affected by extreme weather events due to climate change. The survey by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health also found that those who have experienced extreme weather in recent years see climate change as a national crisis. 

These conclusions come as no surprise, given that 53 million people in 25 major U.S. cities lived under excessive heat warnings in mid-June.

As Climate & Capital recently reported, a shocking new feature of the growing heat is the impact on people experiencing homelessness who are dying in greater numbers in major impacted cities. 

Elsewhere in the world, the news is not good.  

In Australia, extreme rainfall is back with a vengeance. Flooding and wind have hit southeast Australia for the fourth time in less than six months. Spain and Portugal are suffering the driest climate in 1,200 years. In China, extreme flooding battered the southern and eastern provinces, while new droughts are now emerging in the north. 

Add to this the news that the European Parliament just voted to include gas and nuclear energy in what it considers “green” investments, and it’s easy to feel like the world is moving backward on addressing climate change.

These conclusions come as no surprise, given that 53 million people in 25 major U.S. cities lived under excessive heat warnings in mid-June.

If you are feeling anger, frustration, depression or all three at once, you are not alone. A recent Gallup poll found a 20-year record low indicating only 38% of adults are “extremely proud to be an American.”

It’s clear to the world that the U.S. and most countries around the world are failing to take action to reduce greenhouse emissions commensurate with the scale of the problem. 

So what can we do? A lot, actually.

The Climate and Capital team has pulled together our list of how we stay involved despite the many wrong turns on climate. We recommend finding your own way to keep involved and active rather than giving up!  What you can do:

  • Turn weakness into a strength. For anti-choice activists, the Supreme Court ruling in favor of reproductive rights in 1973 was a rallying cry, not a final coda. They did not just go home. For the next 50 years, anti-choice advocates organized and acted on the state, local and national levels in the U.S. Equity for women remains a battle in many countries around the world. Women — and men! — will need to keep the pressure on everywhere, including ensuring women are represented at global negotiating tables, if we are to continue to move forward. 
  • Get political! Climate action won’t happen without strong pressure from people everywhere. If you are concerned about climate change, it is your duty to become an activist in any way you feel will help. That means committing to humanity’s future by applying your time, energy, money and knowledge to understand and engage in an ever-changing situation and help organize your family, community, investments or company.
  • How? Just do it. Get active in local, state or national politics and force climate change to the top of the agenda. Check your town’s meeting agenda. It is nearly guaranteed that there will be climate-related agenda items such as issuing new bonds for climate adaptation projects or supporting the transition to renewable energy. Attend these meetings, speak up and pressure for climate action. 
  • Don’t just give. Act. Donations are important but not enough. Join an organization and get actively involved. So many organizations are doing inspiring work – whether it’s a community gardening group, activist group or global fund supporting climate action in the global south. We recommend a look at Third Act for those over 60, activist organizations 350.org or Extinction Rebellion (radical, we know!), the Sunrise Movement or Friday’s for Future for younger people, Cool Earth and the Rainforest Alliance working to protect rainforests worldwide or climate legal organization EarthJustice to name a few. Here’s a solid list to get you started. Find one that resonates with you. 
  • Become a shareholder activist gadfly. If you have shares in the companies we know need to change – perhaps oil, coal or gas – or want to get active in these companies to push for action on climate change, using your share ownership for change is an effective tactic. Go to an annual meeting and ask the CEO hard questions. Anyone who owns a share can do this. The company, usually pushing to rubber-stamp its agenda, hates it. Several organizations, from Engine No. 1 to the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, are doing impressive work in this space. The Harvard Business Review has a handy introduction for getting started for those who are game. 
  • Invest in climate solutions. Follow Climate & Capital Media for news about trends, innovators and opportunities to invest in solutions. Research the growing number of climate change-specific funds that are now available around the world. Check out Follow This if you want to learn more about being a green shareholder. 
  • Read, speak, write, blog and talk to your networks about climate change. One of the most effective ways to combat frustration is to engage with others about climate change — both those who share your concerns and those you think might like to know more. If you’re feeling intimidated about how to broach the subject, we strongly recommend listening to our podcast interview with social researcher Dr. Rebecca Huntley. It will make you laugh and give you the confidence to speak — and ideas for how to do it — with those you know about climate change. If you’re on social media, tell people about the issue and what they can do or about events in your area. Don’t stay quiet; speak up! 
  • Commingle climate change and human rights. Angry about Supreme Court decisions on everything from the right to reproductive healthcare to packing a gun in New York City, but less interested in climate? No problem. All these issues are interrelated, so pick what you are most passionate about and get involved. 

The key is to engage. 

Social media is a good start, but it’s not enough! Get out there and meet real people. The reality is, whether you act or not, the climate crisis will continue to escalate.  Consider this: If we can solve this enormous, complex and all-encompassing issue, what can’t we do? 

Don’t give up. Put down that phone and get in the game! 

Written by

Blair Palese

Blair Palese is co-founder and managing editor at Climate & Capital Media. She is also director of philanthropy at Australia's oldest ethical financial adviser. Previously she co-founded 350.org Australia and was CEO for ten years. She was head of PR for The Body Shop and communications director at Greenpeace internationally and in the US. Blair has worked for media outlets including Greenpages Magazine, the Washington Monthly and ABC in the U.S.