Digital empowerment was not a method that I was as familiar with so I was eager to join this training offered by World Pulse. I wanted learn what it was and how I could use it to connect with other women about shared concerns. I chose the environmental topic group because it was an area I wanted to learn more about from women all over the world.
At the time of the training the COP21, Paris Climate Conference, was convening. Unfortunately the media coverage that COP21 received in the United States really was minimal compared to the coverage of violence and terrorism also occurring. Although I recognize that violence is a significant threat to the well-being of people, especially women, so is climate change. This lack of focus on climate change by the United States feels especially troublesome since we are one of the highest global greenhouse gas emitters per capita in the world!
I do not feel like there are strong social messages (or policies) urging Americans to reduce their carbon footprint. If you look a little deeper you can find environmental organizations encouraging Americans to focus on their food, transportation and energy choices as daily personal ways to reduce their carbon footprint. But those messages are really the only messages that I see being promoted in the United States.
I decided to really look at how I am making these life choices. I try to think about what I can do to lower my environmental impact but it is easy to feel limited by financial and time constraints imposed by American Culture. However, the COP21 was a serious reminder to the devastation that countries around the world (including mine) are already facing.
I was moved to really look at my individual choices about food, transportation and energy. The choice that I am really trying to look at is my energy consumption. Although I live in a city that has moderate temperatures I live in an old house that is energy intensive. I could update it and work towards having it utilize solar or other renewable energy sources, which is a viable option for more than half the year. I have felt like I couldn’t afford to make these changes. After spending the time following the COP21 and really reflecting on my values I am leaving this training committed to make the changes necessary to convert my household energy use to more renewable resources. The cost to humans around the world is too great not to.
However, I recognize that individual changes can only take us so far. I know that industrial, social and global policies have to change as well. I am leaving this training hoping to learn more from the women in the environmental topic group about what actions they are taking individually, locally and nationally. I hope that you will share your resources, actions, innovations and policies that you believe will improve the global climate for generations to come.
Thank you World Pulse.