Now more than ever, it is critical that we take real action to tackle the climate crisis and end global warming to preserve our planet for future generations, especially considering the alarming statistics presented in recent studies such as the IPCC report and discussions held at the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference. As we have seen in our country with the devastating bushfires in 2019 and 2020 that burnt millions of hectares of land and harmed or killed over a billion animals, it is absolutely crucial that we take immediate action to save our planet. As young people, we will face the brunt of this crisis, and we can already see the detrimental impact it will have on us and on future generations.
Bushfires in Tasmania, Australia. Photograph by Matt Palmer on Unsplash.
Furthermore, climate disasters have displaced millions of people around the world, which has led to the phenomenon of climate refugees. According to an article by the Conversation, it is estimated that there will be many more climate refugees in the future due to the rapid pace of climate change. Additionally, climate change impacts greatly on Indigenous communities due to their connection to the land, ocean, and natural resources. The United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs states that “climate change poses threats and dangers to the survival of Indigenous communities worldwide, even though Indigenous people contribute the least to greenhouse gas emissions”.
Hundreds of thousands of people have participated in global climate strikes to demand immediate action on climate change. Yet our politicians are still not listening to the voices of young people. As of this year, Australia still has not declared a climate emergency despite being ranked one of the highest in global greenhouse gases production. It is time to take action and demand change from lawmakers so we can protect our planet for decades to come.
What can you do to help tackle the climate crisis?
Make your voice heard
Firstly, if you are old enough to vote, you can make a difference and have your voice heard by voting for political officials or parties that are committed to helping the environment and ending global warming. Moreover, you can write a letter to your local MP in order to make your voice heard and demand change.
Participate in a climate march
A climate rally in San Francisco, USA. Photograph by Li-An Lim on Unsplash.
In 2019, thousands of climate strikes took place globally to demand urgent action on climate change and tell world leaders that we must take immediate, bold action on climate change before it is too late. You can find out when more climate strikes will be held from School Strike 4 Climate. In addition, you can join youth climate activism groups, such as ASEN (Australian Student Environment Network) or participate in blockades, such as the IMARC blockade.
Donate and sign petitions
To help organisations such as World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace working to combat the climate crisis, you can make a donation. These organisations have campaigns ranging from protecting the Great Barrier Reef to saving endangered species. Both WWF and Greenpeace have many petitions you can sign to protect endangered species, protect our oceans, and ensure a more sustainable future.
Consider a plant based diet
Animal agriculture is one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. This is why even just eating one plant-based meal per week can make a huge impact and help lower these emissions, thus reducing your ecological footprint and leading to a healthier planet for all of us.
Avoid using plastic
According to the World Wildlife Fund, 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year, which harms marine life and exacerbates the impacts of climate change. Therefore, in order to protect our oceans and prevent the use of single-use plastics, you can invest in a keep cup, reusable water bottles, and reusable bags. Additionally, you can take part in the Red Cycle soft plastics recycling scheme to help keep single-use plastics out of landfill.
Be more sustainable
In your daily life, there are many changes you can make to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. For instance, you can take public transport, ride a bike or walk instead of driving a car. Furthermore, you can recycle, eat locally sourced foods, or avoid using plastic. These actions can help reduce your ecological footprint and help preserve our planet for decades to come.
As you can see, it is absolutely critical that we take action to combat the climate crisis before it is too late. Today, climate change disproportionately impacts Indigenous communities and climate refugees. It is important that we take immediate action on climate change to prevent it from continuing to affect the most vulnerable communities. I believe it is crucial that we make our voices heard by those in power and continue striving for change to save our planet for future generations.
Beth Holland is a Curtin University education student. She is passionate about travelling and the environment. Her dream travelling destination is New Zealand. Beth has a dog named Dash who is 1 year old.