In today’s current political and social climate, the fight against climate change has become somewhat depleted and hopeless. Many people feel as if it’s too big of a problem to tackle individually, so they make no changes at all.
However, a new article in the journal of BioScience shows that hope may not be lost—education on the topic of climate change in schools may be the solution we need in order to combat climate change.
Additionally, National Geographic recently published an inspiring list of 5 ways that humans are successfully fighting the devastating cause and affects of climate change.
Both the article and the list are great ways to motivate those of us who need a little inspiration in order to reignite our passion for this important cause. So, we will take a look at both! And then, we must all do our part in addressing this pressing issue.
Cornell University Urges There’s Still Hope
Nancy Trautmann, the education director at Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York, understands how so many of us have lost hope in the fight against climate change, “It would be easy to throw up our hands in despair. The problems are just so big.”
Trautmann and Michael P. Gilmore, Professor at the School of Integrative Studies at George Mason University, co-authored the article. In it, they urge that teachers should be getting their students fired up and curious about environmental issues, citizen science and conservation action.
Both Trautmann and Gilmore believe that by integrating these practices within schools, the feeling of hopelessness will be counteracted by the feeling of empowerment. It will prompt students to examine their own lifestyles, goals and beliefs—especially those that may be harming the planet.
“One way to accomplish this is by connecting deeply with people from drastically different cultures,” Trautmann explains, “especially those who live in more direct connection with the natural world through more sustainable lifestyles in places such as the Amazon rainforest.”
The authors of the study are partnering with educators and the Maijuna indigenous group in the Peruvian Amazon in order to construct a curriculum aimed at engaging students at the K-12 grade level and college undergraduate level.
Trautmann and Gilmore write that this curriculum needs to both inspire anguish and empowerment—balancing the line between engaging the students’ attention and still inspiring a strong sense of action and responsibility to ensure a brighter future for the planet.
5 Ways People are Restoring Planet Earth
In many ways, technology has contributed to climate change. However, now, technology is being used to restore the damage that has been done.
Daniel Stone, a writer at National Geographic, identified 5 significant ways that people are restoring the planet. This list seems to walk the line that Trautmann and Gilmore are hoping to produce—it is both inspiring and breeds a sense of concern for the future of our species on planet Earth.
1. Tree Delivery
Drones may elicit an image of a dystopian future, but there are many potential positive usages for drones. One may be that drones could actually combat deforestation!
Engineers at BioCarbon Engineering in the U.K. have developed a drone that deposits seeds and has the potential to plant a billion trees per year.
These drones have the efficiency of current aerial methods, but are much more nimble and effective. They can reach places that both airplanes and human beings cannot.
2. Plastic Cleanup
Advances in technology have sparked a new idea for how to clean up plastic and trash in the North Pacific.
A Dutch based nonprofit called The Ocean Cleanup has devised an exciting new system made with floating screens and anchors that can corral plastic out of the water and hold it until it can be collected.
This could have many outstanding affects on the ocean’s health.
3. Flying Above Ice
We may soon be able to monitor the affects of climate change even more regularly and clearly. The San Diego Zoo Global has partnered with Northrop Grumman to develop an autonomous hexacoptor fitted with high resolution cameras and sensors.
This hexacoptor can monitor both the ice and the behavior of polar bears, giving us a more thorough understanding of the health of our planet.
4. City Appetites
A startup in the San Francisco Bay Area called Plenty has found a way to boost growth in hydroponic farms by using LED lights.
These Plenty farms can are hyper-efficient and can produce yields up ot 350 times greater per square foot than conventional fields.
Currently Plenty has plans to expand into cities in China.
5. Crossing the Road
In order to protect wildlife and endangered species, ViaFauna, a Brazil based company, is testing roadside sensors to reduce roadkill.
These sensors would be set up similar to speed traps, identifying a disturbance and illuminated an alert to drivers.
Embracing the Fight
Both the article and the list prompt the question, “What have you done in the fight against climate change?” We each have our part to take in this pressing issue.
Even small decisions such as how to bag our groceries and how to commute to work can make a big difference over time. However, many of us don’t believe that we have a responsibility to this planet and our species.
Economists call this the “Diffusion of Responsibility” effect. In this phenomenon, a person is “less likely to take responsibility for action or inaction when others are present. Considered a form of attribution, the individual assumes that others either are responsible for taking action or have already done so.”
We all collectively think that someone else will pick up the slack. And in the meantime, the status of our climate change dilemma is only becoming more fraught.
Today, we are facing more and more dire warnings from scientists about the declining health of the planet and the potentially destructive consequences for humankind and the creatures we share this world with.
It is essential that each of us do our part! And in some ways, it all starts with restoring some hope that you can, in fact, make a difference.