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Let Us Save The Climate

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ClaimTheClimate

On Sunday, 2nd of December, there was a demonstration in Brussels in favor of the fight against climate change, Claim the Climate. This demonstration was a success, as more or less 65.000 people have participated to this demonstration. We can only be happy of such citizen mobilization. Such mobilization can be a motivation for people who wants contribute to build a cleaner world but who are not yet convinced about the actions to do. A demonstration is a good start, but now actions on a daily basis are the essential conditions to reach this objective.

There are many ways we can contribute to build a cleaner world. And the most important thing is to start with simple daily actions, even if at the individual level, it seems like little to the issue.  To start with simple actions is probably the best way to get closer to the goal, as change is not an easy process. We need to act step by step, letting us the time to change our internal software and to move to new habits. By acting on an incrementally way, we can increase our contribution to build a cleaner world.

Let us take a few examples. This morning, I was shopping on the Sunday market. A merchant where I am used to go asked me if I want a plastic bag to carry my purchases. I said no as I have a backpack. No need to waste a polluting plastic back. Ok, does one plastic bag make the difference? No, but if few millions of people or even a billion of people do the same, so that make the difference. It is a small action but you bring a contribution to a collective objective.

Another example:  I am member of a citizen group who founded a collective compost. This group counts around 50 families. The local authorities allocated us a space in one of the municipal parks. Each Sunday, a member of the group provides a permanent of 30 minutes, and people are bringing their household waste. The waste is weighed, what allowed me to see that in one year, I bring around 50 kilos of waste. In 2017, the whole collective recycled around 1,5 tons of waste.  Not so bad ! 1.5 tons of waste recycled in compost, contributing to feed the ground and that is an excellent CO2 sensor. The municipality multiplied the allocated spaces to the development of such initiatives that meet a certain success. I could not imagine when I join the initiative that I will contribute to recycle 50 kilos of waste, and that I will save a few garbage bags. Once again, imagine a few million, even a billion of people doing the same, that makes the difference.

ClaimTheClimate2Let us talk also about the mobility and the pollution generated by cars in the cities. First of all, the public authorities have to play a fundamental role in order to offer alternative transportation modes. For people living in the countryside, the possibilities to use alternative transport mode like train, bus, etc. are nearly non-existent. In the cities, there are alternatives, but not always efficient. Nevertheless, as already mentioned, change is not an easy process, and often, because we have prejudices about alternative modes usage.  Few times ago, I was fed up to lose time in traffic jams when I was going to work. I decided to use public transportation. As most of the time, I had a seat in the metro, I was thinking I could read a book during the path. After a few times I noticed that I did not really save time, but I did not lose time too, as I was busy to do something, by reading a book, what I could not do when driving my car. I realized that the time of the path was not the constraints, but the constraint was how can I use this time usefully.  I read around 15 books in 6 months in the public transportation. That change process is a success as I sold my car last month. By using public transportation mode, I reduced my annual mileage around 80%, and so, the possession of a car was no longer useful, as I have an alternative to use the car of one of my family member. Why this change was a success? It seems following neuroscience scientists that a positive emotion is associated to the things we like and we are used to do. This positive emotion is printed in the reptilian brain. It is only when we replaced that positive emotion by another one that the change process happens more easily. Here, in my case, the pleasure to be in my car listening to music was replaced by the pleasure to read books in the metro.  So, I reduced my ecological footprint and I would like to underline also the positive impact on my mobility budget.

Another track to contribute to a cleaner world: buy second hand stuff. Our economics system, mostly based on waste (buy, use and throw) is contributing negatively to the environment. Why to buy a news product when you can find second hand products still in good condition for a better price? The advantage of this is that you can save money and use it for other occasions. And use second hand stuff will not make you a less beautiful person.

Here was a range of tracks to contribute positively to our environment. Of course, everybody have different constraints and cannot contribute on the same way. People can contribute if they have alternatives. Another point is that a change process based on an obligation will fail most of the time.  People have to contribute if they have the possibility to do it but they need a real motivation.  As already mentioned, the most important is to start with small and simple actions. The fact to act and to try to reach the goal of environment protection will make an experience you can learn from and discover motivation sources and opportunities. The most important is that everybody contributes following his own possibilities. Even if their possibilities are low, when it is done by few million or even a billion of people, a small contribution is always useful.

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Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

December 3, 2018 at 06:50

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