Things to Do

There are many lists of ways to save the environment or fight climate change at your fingertips with internet search, so I'll keep this short.

Every Gram of CO2, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide Counts

People rightly say that we are not going to prevent or reverse enough of climate change by individual, family or small group choices alone. But we cannot get there without better individual choices either, as noted by Politico. If we as individuals cannot take the smallest right steps, like shutting off a parked car or skipping meat at some meals, we will not be gaining the strength to make the larger adjustments, either. The clock runs both ways, although it is presently far overbalanced one way. Every gram of greenhouse gases put in to the atmosphere will be there until it is removed by photosynthesis or other processes, contributing a tiny fraction to the total problem. Catastrophes occupy a sort of logarithmic scale - we may already be in for a catastrophe of magnitude around, say, 10. But we are perhaps not yet in for a catastrophe of magnitude 100,000. We cannot really know, given the staggering scale and complexity of the Earth's biosphere-atmosphere-ocean systems, what precisely the future holds, so we need to give all possible effort to hitting the brakes.

Politics & Social Change

I am no expert on political action, but I will note that calling your congress-people or senators on the phone is said to be a much stronger tactic than signing digital petitions and sending form emails. You can also call your mayors, state legislators, governors, city council-persons, or whatever-titled persons of influence or power, executives, thought leaders, office holders, or ministers you have in your patch of the globe.

Things Not to Do:

It is not necessary or desirable to pin hopes on as yet unrealized, possibly never to be feasible, technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage or Geoengineering. As noted by Vox, we already have everything we need to reach net zero carbon emissions in terms of technology, at least in the United States. The challenges are in deployment, financing, policy, and politics. One point on this topic from Vox:

Energy infrastructure used to be comprised exclusively of big public projects like dams and high-voltage transmission lines. But in an age of distributed energy, much of what can reasonably be thought of as infrastructure is small and distributed, located “behind the meter,” on the customer’s property. Solar panels on the roof, a heat pump and a battery in the basement, and an electric vehicle in the garage are 21st century infrastructure — they are all connected to, and interacting with, the grid.

To accomplish the MFT [Maximum Feasible Transition], the US needs to stop financing those behind-the-meter technologies like consumer items and start financing them like infrastructure, with low-cost, government-backed loans.

America has done this before, too. The US invented auto financing in the 1920s, radically democratizing car ownership, and the 30-year, government-guaranteed mortgage in the 1930s, radically democratizing home ownership. During the New Deal, the US invented electric co-ops that could access cheap government loans, radically democratizing access to electricity.