When one looks at the global issue of climate change it is hard to think that you can make a difference. It is literally a worldwide issue. Whether you choose to bike to work or hang dry your clothes, cannot possibly make a difference in the temperature change of the globe. Mathematically, your choices do not matter.
But I’d argue that reversing climate change starts with the people.
Culture is what needs to change if climate change is to be stopped. Change needs to start with the people and from there, it can be echoed up the chain to local businesses to corporations to government.
A country that is a prime example of this process is Germany. It is the leading country in solar energy and the reason is clear when you look at the habits of the people. Whenever possible, the people hang their clothes to dry instead of using dryers and the majority of people separate their trash into three piles. Germans also have a tendency to use public transportation or bikes to get most places minimize their car usage and. They also have separate switches for their outlets, and decrease their water usage with two button toilets. Germans consider their impact on the environment every day.
This profound respect for the environment can be traced back many years. Due to the population and long civilization of Germany, the people have always valued the space that they have. Their awareness for the impact they can have on the environment was raised when the Chernobyl accident occurred along their border. This revealed to people the danger of pollution to their health. Since then, Germany has disavowed nuclear energy and moved towards solar and wind energy.
This concern traveled up the chain from the people to businesses to the government. The German government has placed incentives on clean energy and regulations on pollution. This helps to promote green technology. Businesses follow these green regulations and tries due to the green focus of the people, tries to be as green as possible. Even farmers practice green techniques with contour plowing, terracing and other techniques.
Germany is setting an example for the world. If such initiatives took place around the world, pollution would decrease around the globe. It starts with the people and then the whole infrastructure of a country may change. It starts with you.
By Mary Lagunowich