Current Actions and Organizations to Support
This page lists an ongoing variety of actions to transform causes of climate change into solutions, or at least help mitigate or adapt to the current dynamics. This page starts with two sections that might seem so mundane - donating money. And definitely there is a need for much more. But behind such mundane acts are people at times who either have been killed or are putting their lives on the line for these causes.
A. AWARENESS SUPPORT
While this could be considered an unusual category, it actually underpins all other actions. Without accurate information we are left anchorless or worse, completely unaware of the injustices and their sources. This category broadly breaks out into two areas:
News media: Due to the gutting of far too much strong, independent media, there is a great need to support the solid investigative journalism that remains. You can use this Media Bias Chart as a sounding board as you consider what constitutes for you, solid journalism (you may find the latest version too crowded in places - you may want to use its interactive version and type in a given name; for instance, Al Jazeera can not be seen easily, until one types it in and sees its ratings). If possible you should also consider supporting solid Fact-Checking sites.
Relevant Organizations: These are typically organizations on the ground or in close touch with them. By way of example only, regarding the Amazon rainforest, Amazon Watch exemplifies a site worthy of support - it highlights the literal life-and-death struggle and the hidden hands behind the struggles.
B. HUMANITARIAN ACTIONS
Broadly speaking, the negative effects of climate change continue to be felt disproportionately by the poorest groups, whether at the national or community level. Thus efforts to do the following - good in themselves - are good indirect initiatives:
- Reduce poverty (which in some cases can also build resilience to some climate effects);
- Donate to climate-related emergencies (climate change increases the number and intensity of forest fires, hurricanes, etc.)
- Support efforts to address climate displacement, whether efforts to combat the local climate effects and keep people in their homes; immediate needs in displacement camps; or longer-term issues related to allowing easier eco-migration.
Remember to choose an organization carefully. They should be well-known and have a good reputation; they should be transparent in their funding and their initiatives and impacts, and they should involve partnerships of equals. Some examples (not explicit endorsements):
- Red Cross / Red Crescent
- Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières
- Oxfam / The Humanitarian Coalition
A later part of this climate series will clarify better what is appropriate, but the above broad principles can allow us to act now.
C. STRATEGIC GLOBAL & NATIONAL ACTIONS
Call on world leaders to protect Antarctica and deliver the largest act of ocean protection in history. Protect the Antarctica.
1. Tell the Brazilian government to save the Amazon Rainforest and protect the lands of Indigenous communities. This is an example of a generalized action. Its main purpose is to create a political constituency, so that a lobbyist or organization can show the level of concern. Such petitions can be effective or completely ignored. But even in the latter case, they are better than global silence.
Take Action: Greenpeace Petition to Save the Amazon Rainforest
2. Tell BlackRock to stop funding the Amazon destruction. Last fall there were over 40,000 fires burning in Brazil. President Bolsanaro declared the Amazon open for business, which for years had much land razed to produce beef and soy. A small handful of financial companies such as BlackRock have been profiting from the resulting exports. Other companies have gone farther, but BlackRock has publicly "committed to responsible environmental stewardship". Thus this petition below demands BlacRock divest and stop financing the destruction of the Amazon.
Take Action: Tell BackRock to Stop Funding Amazon Destruction
Protecting the Arctic:
The current U.S. government is finalizing plans to sell out the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas corporations before leaving office. The Arctic is ground zero for climate change; temperatures there are rising at twice the rate of the rest of the world. More oil drilling will compound the devastating impacts already being felt from climate change throughout the Arctic. The public has until December 17th to submit a comment. Tell the Bureau of Land Management and the incoming administration that the Arctic Refuge is not for sale!
Take Action (U.S. citizens only): No Arctic Drilling [Greenpeace]!
Planting Trees: The world needs to plant billions of trees, since they help soak up some of the excess CO2. While it sounds simple enough - dig a hole, plunk in a seedling - it really requires knowledgeable help. Is the tree native to the area? Should you get one slightly more resistant either to droughts or excess rains depending on the likely climate change? Is it right for the soil? And so on. Thus you can download a quick list of considerations if you are interested in planting trees or joining such an organization: Considerations on Tree Planting.
D. PERSONAL ACTIONS
List of Personal / Group Actions
Our church, through the Earth Stewardship Committee, has already compiled resource lists related to what we can do individually, at home, within our physical churches, and so. Look for the Resource List at: Earth Stewardship Committee.
The following is an example from the U.K. Peace / Justice Team, which took the above information and also from other sources, and produced their own pamphlet on what can be done locally. Consider creating one for your area using it as a template: UK Template for Climate Action.
Finally, Sojourners has put out a great "Zine"( cartoon graphically told) with discussion guide. It is a faith-based resource that would be great for intergenerational activities and covers a wide range of topics:
A carbon footprint calculator helps a person go through the various ways we add carbon to our atmosphere, and provides guidance for reducing that amount. Perhaps it sounds daunting, but it can also show how easy it is to find some way to start reducing one's carbon footprint. We are all different and must go at our own pace. But on an individual basis (there is also the whole systemic side (*), requiring a different strategy and opportunities for change) we can only change what we are aware of and can measure, and these tools are great places to start: Go to List of Carbon Calculators.
(*) In 2004 BP popularized the notion of carbon footprint calculators in order to take the focus off oil companies and play into the guilt of individuals, doing nothing about the increase of their own footprint [Grist article].
Resource Files for February 14, 2021 Session
Using Carbon Offsets (for instance, for air flights)
Carbon offsets are a mechanism whereby if you will be producing greenhouse gases (such as taking a flight) there are organizations that will calculate the amount of carbon you will use, and will allow you to buy a "carbon offset". An example would be paying the company a small percent of the flight, which would be used to plant the equivalent amount of carbon-capturing trees or perhaps mangroves, usually in the Global South. Carbon offsets should NOT be considered as a method to keep "business as usual" but rather for those predicaments that remain essential and no alternatives exist. The church has always distinguished between "needs" and "wants" and recognizes each person must decide for themselves, for only they know what weight to put on various factors. So the following are simply some general guidelines:
- If the activity is essential, ensure the carbon offset company is certified as "Gold Standard" to avoid scams or poorly-designed offset schemes;
- Try to reduce the number of such trips. If for business, try to maximize use of video conferencing and try to save actual trips only for essential in-person encounters. Try to combine separate trips and schedule them into one multi-stop trip, and so on; If for personal trips, try making even one less trip; Try more local trips; and so on.
- The mode of transit matters (bike, car, bus, train, plane). For distance, the train is generally the most efficient, yet North America has been built around the car. Thus as well as deciding the mode of travel, there is a need for advocacy. More later.
Links to Citizen Science, from Mar. 14, 2021 Session
City Nature Challenge 2021: https://citynaturechallenge.org
- Each Apr.30 to May 3, you take pictures via a downloaded app on a cellphone, of all species you encounter in your area.
- A more generalized form of the above contest, this uses the same app, and can be done anytime, and also goes into a global database for scientists;
Cascade Butterfly Project: https://www.fs.usda.gov/working-with-us/citizen-science/cascades-butterfly-project
- A specific project that includes 4 sites in WA stat and 2 sites in BC province;
Citizen Science Alliance: https://citizensciencealliance.org
Ecosystem Restoration Camps: https://ecosystemrestorationcamps.org
- A series camps around the world, of varying lengths, for anyone, to help restore ecosystems around the world, and in some cases get course credit.