Can Ordinary People Do Anything About The Climate Crisis?

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The climate crisis, also known as climate change, is not a new issue. It’s one that people have been talking about for years, decades even. 20 years ago, Al Gore was one of the leading voices talking about climate change and how big of an issue it would be. People didn’t take him that seriously, but there were concerted efforts to try and reduce the human impact on planet earth, preserving the ozone layer. 

Fast forward to now, and the climate crisis is more serious than ever. More scientists have undergone research into our impact on the planet, pinning a lot of climate change down to one simple problem: greenhouse gas emissions. These are shown to heat up the planet, burn through the ozone layer, and have devastating consequences across the world. 

Consequently, governments around the world are taking action. Legislations and rules are put in place encouraging people to make changes that can reduce climate change. However, this has thrown up a debate from many sectors that ordinary people are the only ones being forced to make changes. We have to recycle, change our buying habits, possibly spend more money on eco-friendly products, but is it worth it? Will the actions of ordinary people really do anything to solve the climate crisis, particularly when you consider this crazy statistic.

70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are produced by 100 fossil fuel companies

This accounts for all emissions over the last twenty years, as per a report in 2017

To go one step further, a later report in 2019 found that 20 firms are responsible for a third of all carbon emissions on the planet. 

Seeing data like this is quite disconcerting and demotivating for the ordinary person. Why are we being told to make drastic changes when the big companies are the main ones responsible for this mess. Yes, the world needs energy, and a lot of energy is created by burning fossil fuels, leading to greenhouse gas emissions. To make things even worse, reports and trends from the energy industry suggest that the market for global energy consumption is only going to rise, growing by 55% in 2035. This means more energy will be produced than ever before. 

It makes us think, even if we all did our part, we only account for such a tiny percentage of greenhouse gas emissions. Why is so much pressure applied to ordinary people when the big corporations are the ones that are the most guilty?

Ordinary people are the key to starting change

The argument to all of this is that we are the key to preventing climate change. Yes, a lot of emissions are caused by companies, but why are they caused? Because ordinary people need energy. So, if we focused on reducing our energy consumption and switching to renewable sources where possible, the demand for fossil fuels would decrease. Therefore, fossil fuel companies would generate fewer emissions and be forced to adapt. It may force them to try new renewable ideas instead. After all, they only really care about money. 

It’s easy to be disheartened by climate change, particularly when you see stats like the ones above. However, ordinary people can still do a lot to save this planet. The small actions of many can have a profound impact and lead to more permanent changes at the top. 

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