Choices: Take Action? Or Watch?

Global Warming Day of Action at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, MN

Why is it important to take action? And how big does the action have to be before it makes a difference?

Taking action is hard. It’s an additional activity on top of your already-too-busy daily schedule. How can you find time to change the world when you barely have time to get to work and back, take care of the kids and the house, and then have a bit of fun once in a while?

Few people have a lot of extra time. To have the time to work on behalf of global warming and other environmental issues is a luxury that most people just don’t have.

Or do they?

The truth is, many actions you can take actually don’t take that much time. Here are some that actually take very little time at all:

Global Warming Day of Action at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, MN

1. Write a short letter to the editor of your local paper.

Have it say simply this: “I’m writing because I am concerned about climate change and global warming. I hope you will consider devoting more print space to these issues. Thank you very much.”

2. Write a short letter to an influential media outlet.

In this post earlier, we referred to blogger a seigel who wrote a letter to Consumer Reports magazine asking them to make power consumption one of the criteria they used when they ranked television sets. This is a simple action that could influence how many consumers make buying decisions.

3. Read and support blogs and websites that are working to make a difference.

There are many new blogs starting, like this one, that are working to educate people and push environmental issues to the forefront of people’s minds. Reading them will help you educate yourself on what you can do to make a difference.

Also, given the distortion in the media and efforts by corporations to confuse the facts and science behind the issues, educating yourself on the facts behind global warming is your best defense against being manipulated by those who don’t want things to change.

Stop watching TV and do something! Anything!
4. Stop watching TV for an hour and do something. Anything!This is the most important step. By far.Taking action — any action at all — is the most important step because the first action you take is the hardest. It’s the hardest because you’re changing your habits and behaviors.

Taking even a simple action empowers you. It makes you feel great — like you’re making a difference. And, the truth is, you are. Because the action you take — even a small one — might motivate you (or someone around you) to take a bigger action next time.

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13 thoughts on “Choices: Take Action? Or Watch?

  1. There are a lot of other, simple actions that can be taken as well. Change your lightbulbs to CFLs (though, I think we need to better educate people about the importance of properly disposing of these bulbs…my mother didn’t know about the mercury content, and had been throwing hers in the trash like regular incandescents until I told her about it). Turn lights off when you’re not in the room. Install a digital thermostat…

    These are all easy actions.

    However, I do like your ideas about writing letters and such, as these actions go beyond the individual, and help to inform others about what they can do.

  2. Good points Adam – I especially appreciate the points about educating people with regard to CFL and mercury.

    We had a post a few weeks ago that went into a lot of detail on CFL lights, how much they could save and how to dispose of them.

    One of the things I’d like to see is consumers pressuring companies that sell CFL lights to also provide for recycling/disposal of the lights. If they sell the lights, they should take responsibility to see they don’t get dumped in a landfill.

    Thanks again for the comment –

  3. Kevin, I think pressuring stores to setup recycling/disposal facilities for spent CFL bulbs is a good idea. At the moment, I don’t even know where the hazardous waste disposal in my city is. I’ve only recently made the switch to CFLs, so I have time to find out, but it would be much better if I could just take them back to the store, instead of driving across town just to get rid of a few light bulbs.

    Plus, the average consumer probably doesn’t care enough to take the bulbs to the proper facilities, and will just throw them out. If the stores that sell them were to offer convenient disposal options, the consumer would likely use them because, well, it would be convenient.

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  5. Another choice you can make is about who you chose to do business with. For example, your hosting company does not mention being green, or even carbon neutral. There are a lot of green or neutral hosting companies out there. When I moved my sites, I looked at only these groups of providers to chose from.

  6. I really liked this post because I think it addresses the biggest problem facing modern environmentalism. We HAVE the international connections and media outlets to make real change happen. Now all people need to do is just spend that extra hour on something meaningful. Productivity courses teach frequently that spending 45 minutes a day adds up to an insane amount of extra productivity in the long run. Why not make that 45 minutes a day count and do some of the things listed above, rather than passively consume television. I think it IS a choice and if you have any interest in environmentalism, you know which one is for you. Thanks for another awesome post :)

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  9. I think that the hardest part of trying to do something to save the world is changing our behaviors, people is not gonna change the comfortable life of the 21st century, just to go out and do something “boring” like cleaning a full of trash park… But that’s where television and newspapers have to attack, trying to create conciousnes about how important our planet is if we want our children to see tomorrow…

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  11. Adam –

    Oddly enough, my post last night on my site is about CFLs and a new bulb – the CCFL. It contains 85% less mercury than a standard CFL, is instant-on, is dimmable, lasts 4x as long, and gives off a warm glow.

    I do agree that the mercury disposal or recycling centers should be setup. It would be a great initiative for Lowes or Home Depot – just like Staples and others do with battery recycling.

    Be well.


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