Been thinking about why so few people take action on climate change since I participated in the march in Anacortes on Saturday March 14. I’d guess #BreakFree Anacortes had 750-1000 participants. Not bad, but it feels paltry compared to both the level of engagement needed in order to make a change of significance, and the number of people I *know* are concerned about climate change.
Yesterday’s Washington Post has an article about why so few people are will to get up and protest:
“A new study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that even members of the public who are “alarmed” about a warming planet show relatively low levels of public-sphere action, such as volunteering or protesting.”
They concluded that “people may be alarmed, but they could also be isolated or feeling despair — and if they don’t think they have the power to do anything, or aren’t in a social network that empowers them, then they simply won’t do something.”
“The new study focuses specifically on the “alarmed” segment. The problem with this group, the researchers explain, is that while they might engage in high levels of private or household activities aimed at combating global warming — things like conserving energy and reducing household carbon footprints — they don’t do much publicly, such as lobbying or advocating.”
“…only a third of the alarmed group donated money to organizations working to reduce climate change, and a mere 29 percent contacted government officials about climate change.”
“It turns out the biggest predictor for climate action involved — that’s right — other people. Significantly more people in the active group reported that their friends and family members were willing to take part in public-sphere climate action.”
I highly recommend reading the entire article.
Ideas for how to “infect” more people with the willingness to get active? I know for myself, having a group of people to go with to a protest makes it a whole lot easier. Attending a protest or action is a big unknown; unless you’ve done it before, and even if you have, you have no idea what to expect. Will it be peaceful? Violent? Will you get tired? Where will you park? What if you have to go to the bathroom? Should you pack lunch? etc. etc. From the big to the small, the barriers to attending an action on climate change can all convince people it’s easier to just stay home.
But the system is failing us. It’s up to us. If we don’t take action, things will not change fast enough and our kids will have no future.
We know this. Now it’s time to act on it.