Can you cut 1 Tonne of carbon pollution out of your life?Take the challenge
So, you're not completely convinced that climate change is happening. That's ok! We can agree to disagree on this one. But might I suggest watching this adorable video of Neil Degrasse Tyson and his dog explaining the difference between weather patterns and climate change? Or this one of Bill Nye (The Science Guy) explaining climate change using emoji? Or even this one which walks us through how climate skeptics managed to use doubt to turn climate science into a matter of opinion (hint: they used the same PR firm as big tobacco).
You don't have to believe in climate change to see that we're treating our planet like a rubbish bin, and using up our resources without regard for everyone else on the planet.
Even if you're not worried about rising temperatures and extreme weather, you still have a role to play in keeping our planet healthy.
Imagine the world is you garden. Would you dump the contents of your rubbish bin on top of your veggie patch? Of course not! (Well, unless it was compost, but I'm imagining dirty nappies and Styrofoam meat trays).
Would you pour leftover household chemicals from spring-cleaning into your rainwater tank? No way!
This is pretty much what we're doing to our world: we're polluting and decimating our natural resources at a seriously unsustainable rate, and the planet isn't coping.
But the good news is that your everyday actions can have an impact.
"Oh sure," you're thinking, "I'm just one person. How the hell do MY actions make a difference?"
I'm glad you asked!
You see, you might just be one person, but no man is an island: we're all connected to the lives of others, and as such have the ability to influence other people around us.
Imagine that you decide to stop using single-use plastic bags when you go to the supermarket. Good for you! You feel great about what you're doing and tell your friends and family. Your kids learn from your example and start thinking more and more about the environment.
Someone else notices your reusable bags when you're walking down the street. "Wow," they think, "I should do that."
Your supermarket starts selling reusable bags, noting that more and more people seem to be requesting them. Eventually they ban plastic bags altogether. This gets into the local papers and soon neighbouring areas are following suit.
Your simple actions have created a ripple effect of changes. Your small impact has become a massive group effort.
Yes, this might be the best-case scenario, but stories like these really do exist. When I was younger, I couldn't care less about the impact I was having on the environment, but seeing those around me take small actions such as taking reusable bags to the supermarket, or trading disposable coffee cups for reusable ones, really impacted how I thought about my place in the world.
It doesn't have to be about global warming or climate change: make it about keeping your neighbourhood clean, or reflecting your spiritual beliefs. We all live here, so it is in our collective interest to care for our home.
We don't have to believe in the same things, nor will I ever force you to see my way of thinking. All I ask is that you help keep our communal garden that is this planet a little cleaner.
A fellow gardener
READ THIS NEXT: What do we mean when we say "combat climate change"?