written & photographed by Heather Valey
Just as South East Texas was reeling from the giant tropical storm Imelda, young people and folks from all walks rallied at the Texas Capitol (and around the world) demanding action on Climate Change. Speakers on the steps of the Capitol led chants and gave passionate speeches about the inaction of our government to even acknowledge, let alone act on Climate Change in recent years.
The strike may be over, but we can’t rest. We must continue to insist on action. We also must be insistent on the right action. I’m tired of being overwhelmed with distracting lists of things I can do to fight climate change: stop eating meat, stop showering, don’t eat organic food, eat more organic food… etc. I do try to watch my carbon footprint, I drive a hybrid car, we have installed energy saving light bulbs in our house, we try not to fly very much…etc But these “to-do” lists for the common folk is all a distraction to move blame away from where it belongs. For example, take the “stop eating meat” mandate, livestock only contributes to the overall US greenhouse gas emissions by 4.2%, and globally up to 18%. We need to focus on the biggest cause of the issue and that is our use of fossil fuels. The biggest offender in the U.S. is the burning of fossil fuels (oil & coal) which accounts for 62.9% of our Greenhouse Gas emissions in this country. Globally, fossil fuel consumption contributes to 76 % of our Green House Gas emissions. So if you just can’t give up meat, don’t feel like you are a terrible environmentalist.
** The recent fires in the Amazon, Indonesia now and Canada in 2018 aren’t helping either.
Our government needs to be participating in the solution, not becoming a bigger part of the problem. The US is the 2nd largest contributor of Greenhouse Gases in the world. The UN Climate summit this past week was focused on creating plans and strategies to act now on Climate Change, but sadly produced little but talk.
We must continue pushing until our government starts taking this seriously. There are things you can do aside from putting down that burger.
- Make sure you are registered to vote. If you are not, you can go HERE . If you think you are already registered, double check. Your vote matters so make sure you are able to cast it.
- Do your homework before voting, look for candidates that support action for climate change. Look into what their plans are. Use resources like Vote411 or League of Women Voters . USA.gov has some good tips on how to decide who to vote for in any election.
- Look for groups in your area working on climate change activism.
- Stay in the loop. Keep up to date on what is happening.
- By signing up with any of the agencies that are working on fighting climate change they will send you updates
- Search out information beyond the headlines, the mainstream media doesn’t always show what is happening with a certain issue
- The Austin Eco-Network is a great source for the Austin area for eco-issues
If you can add to these lists please do in the comments!