I'm not going to lie. It is hard. Overcoming fear of change is a tremendous endeavour. And, the biggest barrier is time. The lack of it, that is. Progress on climate change internationally has been slow moving. On all fronts: politically and in the collective/individual sphere. As a journalist/activist, I'm tremendously concerned.
I witnessed with great sadness the epic failure that was Copenhagen but then I witnessed the joy that was the People's World conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia.
It was there that I met inspiring men and women who called the earth their Pachamama and were demanding out loud: “We want system, not climate change.” They were demanding serious carbon emissions cuts and retribution through an international Tribunal for Climate Justice. Suddenly, it wasn't just a bunch of “tree huggers” (as conservatives like to scoff) but it was the “People” demanding justice for their future generations to live in a world where biodiversity thrives, from the farmers with La Via Campesina peasant movement to the communities affected by the ecological disasters that big mining projects are bringing about.
As a women activist from the Philippines was so eloquently saying, if we don't get involved and stop businesses from greenwashing the UNFCCC process it “won't just be business as usual, it will be more business than usual.” And, unfortunately, it is women who suffer the most when big businesses think only about how to capitalize on climate change.
So how to create change in one's community on climate change? Well, through simple acts locally (like the one championed by organizations like Ecology Ottawa, working with local establishments in order to make them more environmentally minded and by helping them reduce their ecological footprints with simple, everyday changes. I helped set up a partnership between the NGO I work for work and Ecology Ottawa.)
Politically, in Canada, we have a tremendous challenge: “How you convince a conservative government like the one we have that real solutions to climate change do not lie in the development of geoengineered projects?” (for more info on geoengineering. see: http://www.handsoffmotherearth.org/2010/07/vandana-shiva-debates-geoengi... )
But sometimes I'm reminded that our own families are the tests to see if things can change. If I can't convince my mother (who cares about me and what I do) to listen to me when I go off on why using plastic water bottles is bad for the environment, who will listen?
Creating change takes time we don't have. But, there is hope in, not only platforms like World Pulse but also, www.350.org/invitation. On 10/10/10, 350.org is asking people to “celebrate climate solutions and send our politicians a clear message: "We're getting to work—what about you?" I'm of the same mindset with my road to Dakar video project (http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/exchange/post/28899 ) with recording women's voices who are the change. Let's start building solutions, now!Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change