Think Globally, Act Locally: 100+ Years Later

I have always loved the motto “Think Globally, Act Locally.” If it had not been taken, and I was more creative, I would have used it for this blog. Alas I am quite late to the game, as the term is attributed to Patrick Geddes, a Scots town planner and social activist over 100 years ago. It was incorporated into the climate change community in the 1970s. Since it was already taken, and I also wanted to incorporate optimism as a theme into my blog and had to come up with a different name. You can read about why I started this blog here.

Circling back to community, I firmly believe it is one of the most critical aspects of people’s lives. Giving back to the community is fulfilling and creates everlasting relationships. So in today’s world what is community, what does it mean for climate change, how an individual can make a difference?

With respect to climate change, community could take a multitude of forms. Some examples include (1) a local group of people interested in climate change; (2) a global organization that brings people together around climate change; (3) online groups of individuals with common values. While these are not all “local”, they create endless opportunities to be part of a community and make a difference.

Over the last 18 months I have learned more about Green Newton. It is a fantastic organization with an amazing set of programs that include educational programs on heat pumps, a list of actions you can take to lower your climate impact, and how to get a no cost home energy assessment. As I learned more, I reached out to them to volunteer and started by helping promote their programs within the local Newton community. Last year I also wrote a number of posts on my experience with Green Newton’s Take Action initiative. Earlier this year, I was asked and accepted to join the board of Green Newton. I am excited to spend more time with the team, learning and helping others participate in our programs. You don’t have to join the board a local environmental group, but I encourage you to research what is available to you and sign up for their newsletter, or make a donation. It’s a start.

The premiere global scientific organization on climate change is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). IPCC, created in 1988, is an organization of 195 governments that are members of the United Nations or World Meteorological Organization (WMO). What is amazing is that IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about climate change. I am embarrassed to admit that until a couple of years ago, I had never heard of IPCC. I learned about it from my brother, who is active in Ecology Ottawa. He is also an author. So what does this have to do with IPCC? My brother realized not many people know about IPCC, so he wrote a graphic novel to help spread the world – “Because IPCC.” You don’t need to write a book, but you could read one. You could also spend 15 minutes looking at the IPCC website to learn about their amazing work and dedication. Finally, if you are a scientist, and there are many in the Newton area, you can engage in multiple ways.

The third type of community I will cover is online. For me this last community is important for constant learning and encouragement to hear of the progress we are making and get ideas on what else I can do. There are quite a few groups on facebook, LinkedIn that I participate in as well as blogs and e-newsletters I read. I particularly enjoy “Climate Change – I Care!”, “Climate Change Guide Group”. I am still sorting through which blogs provide the “right” information for me.

To wrap up, here are three things you can do towards helping fight climate change.

  • Find a local environmental group and either volunteer, subscribe to their newsletter, or donate.
  • Pick one of the global non-profits, get to know their work and leverage it to educate your community, friends, and local politicians.
  • Join one online group and engage in the discussion. Pick one idea from the group to adopt in the next 30 days.

I remain optimistic about the possibilities. The past year with Covid-19 has been challenging for all, but communities are strong and help us get through the tough times.

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