A groundbreaking study outlines what you can do about climate change.

Jul 14, 2017 by

grist

Stuff that matters


action hero

Researchers in Sweden examined the possible steps that people can take to help tackle the climate crisis. Although a lot of resulting news coverage focused on the most effective action (having one fewer kid), the real takeaway is that individual actions still matter. A lot. Click to see how they stack up:

In fact, the researchers found that behavioral shifts could be faster than waiting for national climate policies and widespread energy transformations. As far as I know, this is the very first comprehensive analysis on the effectiveness of specific individual climate actions.

The authors’ audience was high school textbook publishers, who the researchers found prioritize relatively low-impact, easy actions like recycling and changing light bulbs. Well, guess what, buttercup? No one ever said fighting climate change would be easy.

If we don’t shift our culture (relatively quickly) to make the most meaningful changes feel inevitable, we’re not going to get a second chance. The perfect mix of worry and hope will be different for everyone, but at least now we’ve got an armload of stuff we can do to make things better.

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