hg: Our Final Warning

This is it. Scientists have issued their final warning about climate change. We’ve been told again and again but we just won’t behave. For too long we’ve been the naughty kids at the back of the class, ruining it for everyone else, and if we don’t adapt now we’ll be demoted to the bottom set of existence. Or worse, expelled!

Although most of the news coverage about this shocking revelation seems to focus on government and industry action, it’s worth mentioning that we - us mere mortals known as the general public - hold a lot of the cards too. Our actions (or inaction) will ultimately decide things.

So what can we as individuals do about this ginormous, terrifying, complicated problem?

People often default to discussing mystical technologies like carbon capture, fusion power and giant space mirrors. They say, “No need to worry about this climate thingy. Carry on as normal, the techies will solve it soon.”

Frustratingly, very real solutions have been around for ages. They work and have stood the test of time, with no need for technological wizardry.

Here’s an easy guide to saving the world and looking good doing it:

Yes, there are plenty of other nitty-gritty things that can be done, like switching to a green energy provider, line-drying clothes, recycling, and using efficient light bulbs. All good things to do, no doubt, but not much bang for your buck. I recommend focusing on high-impact changes before sorting out the finer details.

I also think it’s rather neat that these more fundamental changes can lead to a better life. I’m happier and healthier since getting rid of my car. Travel is becoming a more interesting endeavour since I swore off flying. I eat a healthier diet and take a greater interest in my food since going veggie. And trying to live simply, besides having practical benefits like a smaller budget and tidier home, has helped me to understand what’s actually important in life.