Real solutions to climate change need to happen, NOW!

Nelly Bassily
Posted October 5, 2010 from Canada

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: )

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, On 10/10/10, 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 ( ) 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

Comments 4

  • JessiSchimmel
    Oct 12, 2010
    Oct 12, 2010

    Hey there,

    It is very clear to me that you are passionate about this subject, and I agree that it is not an easy task to take on.... But I'm left wondering what you think I (or any individual) should do to effect change on climate issues. I need someone as knowledgeable on the subject as you to help direct me (and the many many others like me, who want to make a positive impact on climate change and don't know how).

    So. What's the ask?

    Thanks, Jessi

  • Terri Garneau
    Oct 12, 2010
    Oct 12, 2010

    Nelly, I am one of your listeners for this week. I am here to help in any way I can. First of all, your piece displayed great passion for the environment and dealing with climate change - something that I am also concerned about as well. However, that being said I did not quite see what your specific challenges and barriers to creating change in your community were. Climate change is a global issue, but it also affects locally. Perhaps you could have developed that more. You did include Ecology Ottawa, which was nice, but I would have liked to hear more about the partnership you set up. Remember a reader must be led through the essay - it is a journey. I understand and feel your passion, but lure the reader in with a story and put the jargon as a coda (i.e. geoengineering) The small bit about your mother not listening would have been a good vignette - develop that more. I look forward to reading more of your work. Sincerely, Terri - a fellow earth hugger (trust me I seem to be the only one who carries cloth shopping bags and recycles where I live)

  • Nelly Bassily
    Oct 18, 2010
    Oct 18, 2010

    Thank you both for your comments. I really do appreciate them. What's the ask? Well, many things quite frankly. But, I would say that the first ask is that people get informed and then maybe get involved in their homes, communities and maybe even at a more national or global level. But, I have found that, some of the simplest things, like turning off lights, using reusable bags and not wasting perfectly compostable things are sometimes harder challenges than convincing governements to make their policies more environmentally sound.

    But a good place to start sometimes is to be inspired. I've been following this blog from the David Suzuki blogs called "Queen of Green". Queen of Green started writing in October about "Saving the planet from your kitchen table." (Check it out: ) It gives great tips about eating local and what it means to eat green.

    I think that's a good place to start. Obviously, more needs to be done but just these simple things can go a long way. :)

  • amymorros
    Oct 19, 2010
    Oct 19, 2010

    Thanks Nelly for explaining what small steps we can all take. Certainly here in the US we lack the political will to enact legislation but I do know that there are many passionate people out there. Your journal entry is one of the few to address climate change and I am looking forward to learning more. -Amy

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