Although I recycle, use LED bulbs, and bike to work, I don’t think that these are actually meaningful things that I, as an individual, can do. They make me feel better, but their actual contribution towards helping prevent climate change is basically nil.
Sure, if 50% of people in the world, including all the people in developing countries, did these things then it would have an impact, but that’s unlikely to happen just by “leading by example.”
So what are the things that I, personally, can do that will make the most impact? Personally, I think it all comes down to policy change, and for the most part it’s easier for me to effect change with my wallet than by other means (e.g. standing for election). Therefore, my three contributions to this (hopefully crown-sourced list) are:
- Donate to climate-policy lobbying groups. My favorite, though I’d be happy to be told a better one, is the Environmental Defense Fund
- Vote for, campaign for, and donate to candidates who take climate change seriously
- Call up your congress-critters or other representatives and make sure that they are taking climate change seriously
One thing that I’m interested in is whether donating $500 to an organization like EDF is more impactful than $500 directly to an environmental conservancy, or reforesting program, or carbon credits, or what-not. Is there a way to actually measure the impact of that $500? How many tons of carbon have been saved due to policy changes caused by lobbying, and what was the cost? (Obviously I’m not expecting concrete answers, but the discussion might prove fruitful.)