"What can I as an individual combat climate change?" is perhaps the most frequently asked question about climate change! Literally hundreds of answers, from recycling and checking tire inflation to eating less meat and voting, show up in “Lists of the “Top 10 Personal Actions to Combat Climate Change" all over the internet. But there is also a large literature suggesting that individual actions can never scale to the point of actually mitigating climate change. So what are individuals supposed to do?
Lists of individuals actions are generally misleading. While they are arguably psychologically important, from a climate change perspective many of the items listed focus on relatively inconsequential behaviors, or are unlikely to ever scale to a level that could measurably influence climate change.
By no means, however, are individuals unimportant to climate change. Individuals are key to collective action! But individual actions aimed at collective impact tend to be quite different from individual actions aimed at reducing personal carbon footprints.
Your Climate Change PhD pulls together and synthesizes the very large literature surrounding the role and relevance of individual responses to climate change, including:
- The #1 Action for Individuals
- Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
- Acting via Social Media
- Acting As an Employee
- Using Your Time
- Using Your Money
- Using Your Vote
- Telling Climate Stories
- What’s Missing: Helping Individuals Contribute to Team Urgency’s Playing of Climate Chess