What is Climate Action?
Let's start with a definition. You might be surprised by what climate action covers.
Climate action is any activity that helps people cope with a changing climate, or that results in a decline in climate gas emissions.
Some examples are obvious, and they are the ones most people think of when talking about climate solutions: insulating your house, installing a solar panel, riding a bike or driving an electric vehicle, or becoming a vegetarian. They can be small, personal actions like switching to LED lights, or they can be major government initiatives, like investing in transit infrastructure or designing compact and complete urban communities.
Others are less obvious, and they show the tension between consumption and conservation: carbon offsets for air travel, energy-efficient large homes, or eating local, organic meat. There is clearly an effort to minimize the energy cost and climate emissions, but the action still has an impact.
Even more difficult to measure is the contribution of arts, culture and community, which are examples of a high quality of life based on experience instead of consumption. Theatre, community sports and recreation, volunteering with a community group, even relaxing at the local cafe, are examples of a low-carbon society where we value the quality of our time and experiences over material wealth and consumption.
In the end, they are all examples of climate action. We should celebrate them all.
The transition to a low-carbon society will not happen overnight. It took us a century to become the car-centric, oil dependent society we are now. It will take us at least half a century to change again as new clean technology is developed and renewable power continues to improve in efficiency and drop in cost. It takes time to work our way through the life cycle of products and purchase new technology. It will take time to retrofit our buildings and houses, to invest in transit, and to reshape our communities.
If we do it right, we will look back in fifty years time and see that we live in great communities, with a strong local economy, and a high quality of life.
This is why we want to link climate action with social benefit, and why voluntary action is important. Start now. Choose the actions that make sense to you. Find the products and services that help you take action. Pitch in and help in your community.