Goal: Put the U.S on a road leading to diminished impacts from climate change
This month the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on its findings, following a detailed examination of the effects of climate change today, the severity of climate changes that can be expected in the future, and what options humanity has to forestall the worst harm.
The number one step the IPCC pointed to that can be taken to limit global suffering due to climate change (indeed, the report cites it as the only option that has a chance to succeed) is for countries like the U.S. and others to reduce their rate of economic growth. This is measurable by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the total of every sale of goods and services within the country, and its growth is generally seen as an indicator of economic health.
When the rate of growth slows, all kinds of economic activity – from the manufacture, transportation, and sale of goods, to the purchase of fuel for airplanes, to the construction of shopping malls; the list includes everything you shop for – slows as well. Almost all of this activity involves a step along the way where fossil fuels are burned (thus releasing greenhouse gases that are credited with contributing to global warming), and it is this that the report of the IPCC addresses.
By consuming less, you can make a difference, but not only by contributing less to climate change, but in another, hopefully satisfying way.
When the rate of GDP growth lessens due to lowered consumer spending, it keeps money in your pocket – money that stays out of the pockets of those called the “1%”. Seventy percent of GDP is comprised of consumer activity, and the 1% take in 20% of the nation’s income. By spending less, you not only fight climate change, but you realize financial savings associated with consuming less, and you prevent the portion of that money that would otherwise find its way to the 1% from lining the pockets of people who have become accustomed to incomes that grow ever more separated from the rest of us.
Signing the petition below is a way you can make a commitment to yourself in support of lessened consumption, and if you keep a copy nearby, you will be able to keep your resolve to battle global warming and climate change fresh in you mind every day.
By signing this petition, I pledge to modify my spending habits, with the goal of reducing the amount I spend by 10%, a little bit at a time. For example, I will buy a product only if nothing that I currently have will suffice; I will only use my car if the distance I need to travel is too great for walking or bicycle riding and there is no public transportation available; I will not buy electronic gadgets just for the novelty of the latest release; I will only buy prepackaged foods when my own kitchen is inaccessible; when buying my own food, I will try to buy produce only from local farmers; I will delay the purchase of a new car as long as I can; I will not use paper products such as plates, cups, paper towels and the like – the efforts I put into washing ceramic dishes and cleaning the rags I use are all efforts towards making the planet I live on a place where the freedom and quality of life I have known will be known for generations to come.
Of course, every person could come up with their own similar list, and indeed it would be a powerful reinforcement of your intentions to spend less if you did write your own list. Remember, this action acts as an equalizing factor – your income will effectively be increased (reflected in your savings, hopefully), and the 1% will see a reduction in their income.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Hanoitaxi via Wikimedia Commons