10 Great Ways To Be A Climate Optimist
Feeling eco-anxious? Sally Giblin walks us through 10 ways to be a climate optimist and take positive action.
You finally get a chance to sink into the sofa and scroll the headlines, after a massive day. And there it is - yet again.
Headline after headline oozes with climate doom. From the extreme weather events breaking out around the world, to the terrifyingly dire “code red for humanity” IPCC report.
You can feel the fear, powerlessness and frustration bubbling up inside. "What can I do about climate change? I'm one person on a planet of 7.9 billion!"
Constant doom scrolling can paralyze us with fear - making us reach for the duvet (rather than inspiring us to do something).
But - there’s a different path we can choose. The path of the stubborn optimist.
It’s so important that we retain hope. And rather than tell ourselves a story of despair and hopelessness and doom - we tell ourselves a story of optimism and solutions and people rising up for change.
Because problems can grow exponentially. But so can solutions.
And as Katharine Wilkinson - one of 15 “women who will save the world” according to Time magazine - says, “No movement ever succeeded, by thinking it was going to fail.”
Here are 10 great ways to be a climate optimist.
10 Great Ways To Be A Climate Optimist
1. Surround yourself with positive climate content
What we choose to focus on has a huge impact on our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions.
Cultivate a go-to bubble of climate optimism and hope, for those times you need to get away from the climate headlines. We all need hope. It gives us the energy to stand up and take action.
If you like to watch, kick back on the sofa with the compelling future vision of the 2040 documentary.
If you like to read, grab a copy of the feast of ideas, truths and solutions that is the All We Can Save anthology.
If you like to engage, check out growing communities like @globaloptimism @bethefuture.earth, @1millionwomen.
2. Immerse yourself in climate solutions
We know what’s causing climate change. And we know how to solve it. What we need now - is to mobilize society to shift the tide, and to build a better world.
Check out Project Drawdown - the world’s leading resource on climate solutions. We have (nearly all) the solutions we need to slam the breaks on the climate crisis and shift it into reverse.
3. Live your values (through your choices)
Individual action (alone) will not stop the climate crisis.
Individual actions create ripples of change.
Individual actions act as catalysts for wider movements.
Individual actions are a way to live your values - every day.
This doesn’t mean you have to do all the things at once. And it doesn’t mean you have to be a “perfect” environmentalist.
But gradually using your choices to eat, move, shop, bank in a way that’s better for the planet - and holding our leaders to account - all create change.
4. Inspire yourself with utopian visions for the future
There’s much talk of the dystopian future that lies ahead - if we remain on our current trajectory of carbon emissions and temperature rise.
We need to elevate the conversation about the thriving future we could shape - if we take dramatic action. Now.
Christina Figueres, the “stubborn optimist” who led the 2015 Paris Agreement negotiations, and Tom Rivett-Carnac provide an inspiring manifesto for a thriving future with their book The Future We Choose.
5 Books That Will Fuel Your Inner Activist In 2021
5. Recognise the strength of human spirit to overcome adversity
Humans have overcome adversity time and time again throughout the course of history.
From world wars to conflicts, pandemics to natural calamities. Our collective human spirit has been tested time and time again - and we’ve risen to the challenge.
Humanity arguably faces its greatest test of all, at this pivotal moment in history. Where we can choose an apocalyptic future - if we continue on our current path; or a utopian future - if humanity rises to the challenge.
6. Use your voice to share your climate optimism (and action)
Using your voice to talk to others about climate change is one of the most impactful things you can do.
One of the world’s leading climate communicators, Katherine Hayhoe, advocates for connecting with others over shared values - to help people realise they already care about the climate emergency.
For example, talking with other parents about how we all want the best future for our children, can help more people to find their ‘why’ for taking action.
Hope - and inspiration to act - can all start with a conversation.
7. Find your climate agency - take positive, meaningful climate action
Feeling anxious or powerless or fearful about the climate crisis are all very real and natural responses to what’s happening to our planet.
But would you like to hear the good news?
You can channel those emotions into taking action. Into finding your climate agency. By choosing to make positive change where you already have passion or influence.
If you love food? Fight climate change by tackling food waste.
If you're a copywriter? Use the power of your words to change the hearts and minds of politicians.
If you’re a lawyer? Use the power of law to change the system for the better
8. Be inspired by the courage of the youth movement
Youth are taking action and demanding adults do more - much more - to protect the planet.
Youth activists like Greta Thunberg are leading voices in the climate movement - challenging world leaders to take immediate climate action. Greta has inspired millions of students around the world to call for change.
But the environmental movement must be intergenerational. It can’t just be left to rest on the shoulders of the next generation.
So let’s be inspired by their courage. Their self determination. Their tenacity. And take action.
9. Join the pebble community
There’s a lot of power in finding a community that resonates with who you are and what you want to contribute to.
Being part of a community helps you to discover your power to be part of the solution.
Being part of a community helps to inspire you with solutions.
And being part of a community helps to build your resilience and determination.
We’d love you to join the growing Pebble community, which helps you hit your sustainable goals, network and inspire others.
10. (If you have tiny humans in your life) raise heroic leaders for environmental change
Our children can’t be expected to clean up this mess (we must do that) - but we can empower them to create a better, greener, cleaner tomorrow.
We can inspire a love of nature - and a desire to protect it - by spending more time in nature (whether that’s a garden, a park, some pot plants. Anything green.)
We can read inspiring nature stories (try libraries & second hand book stores for free or close to free books).
We can role model eco changes for your kids (as you gradually make changes in your life).
Will you choose the path of stubborn optimism? Will you hold hope that a better, thriving future is possible?
The more of us that can channel that optimism and hope into meaningful action, the faster we can build a better, greener, fairer future.
Sally Giblin is the CoFounder of Be the Future. Follow Be The Future on Instagram.
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