While the climate crisis is here to stay, the sooner we learn to live without fossil fuels, the less severe it will be.
Transitioning away from fossil fuels is ultimately the responsibility of governments and companies that invest in fossil fuel development, but each and every one of us can help accelerate this shift. After all, it’s not just oil companies that have to stop producing oil; people will also have to trade their gas-powered cars for electric ones.
There are a lot of other behavioral changes that will have to be made in the years ahead, encompassing pretty much every aspect of human life, from how we shop to how we eat to how we work. The most lifestyle change will have to come from people living in wealthy countries like the United States and Australia, where per capita greenhouse gas emissions are far higher than in low-income countries.
But what steps do we need to take to align ourselves with the planet’s health? And how do we better understand the forces behind this shift?
There are countless resources available — books, articles, videos, and films — explaining the climate crisis and how we can overcome it. But for ongoing resources about low-carbon living, here are 10 scientists, activists, and influencers who can help, and where to find them online.
1. Leah Thomas
Leah Thomas is an environmental writer who focuses on intersectional climate justice. Her social media accounts and blog, The Intersectional Environmentalist Platform, provide resources for how to incorporate intersectional principles into your life, while also reducing your environmental impact. Some of her recent posts include “how to make your houseplant habit even greener,” the purpose of plastic-free July, and how to advocate for Black farmers.
2. Ashley Renne Nsonwu
Ashley Renne Nsonwu is a vegan lifestyle educator and activist who helps her followers live their most sustainable lives. She helps people adapt to plant-based diets and learn how to shop for plant-based beauty products. Her pages include useful sustainability tips such as how to drink zero-waste coffee and how to reduce waste in your bathroom, alongside explainers on intersectional topics like how pollution is connected to police brutality.
3. Rob Greenfield
Rob Greenfield is a community organizer and educator who roams the US showing people how they can minimize their environmental impact to live in harmony with the planet. Over the years, he’s helped grow the home garden movement, showed how to live outside the corporate food system, combatted food waste, and demonstrated how to live waste-free. Greenfield also believes deeply in community building and regularly highlights local community activists.
4. Robin Wall Kimmerer
Robin Wall Kimmerer is an ecologist, writer, educator and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her books and articles are an indispensable resource for understanding how humanity can overcome the climate and biodiversity crisis by reviving a sense of kinship with plants and animals. Her work combines scientific rigor, Indigneous wisdom, and an elegant, poetic sensibility to inspire a deep love for the planet and all wildlife.
Find her latest work here.
5. Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
The marine biologist, writer, and advocate Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson uses her platform to push back against climate defeatism to show how communities can play a role in mitigating the climate crisis. Through her podcast, How to Save a Planet, Johnson and her co-host Alex Blumberg explore a wide range of environmental topics such as climate migration, forest fires, the carbon-sucking potential of soil, and what a Blue New Deal would look like. Johnson is also the co-editor of All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, a collection of essays by 60 women working in the climate space.
6. Peter Kalmus
And please be a climate activist. You are needed! How is up to you. But here are some ideas:— Peter Kalmus STOP LINE 3 (@ClimateHuman) August 30, 2021
Talk about it a lot
Join climate groups
Get political, get in the streets, get ANGRY
Be courageously creative, use your talents
Walk the talk, it's freeing
Be kind ♥️
Few climate scientists have stepped into the fray of advocacy as fervently as Peter Kalmus, who spends seemingly every waking moment trying to inspire climate action and help people better understand the climate crisis. On social media and in articles, Kalmus breaks down complex scientific topics, rails against the status quo, and encourages people to take action in their own lives.
Kalmus also practices what he preaches by growing his own food, avoiding harmful forms of transportation, and reducing his consumption patterns. Overall, he says he’s responsible for a tenth of the average American’s carbon footprint.
Follow him on Twitter.
7. Dominique Drakeford
The activist, writer, and entrepreneur Dominique Drakeford works to dismantle white supremacist ideas within the environmental space and across industries. Fast fashion, in particular, is a primary subject of her criticism as she educates people on how they can make sustainable clothing choices. More broadly, Drakeford helps people reimagine all forms of modern consumerism by drawing on lessons from Black and Indigenous thinkers.
8. Jason Hickel
When it comes to stopping climate breakdown, there’s only one fail-safe policy: a binding cap on fossil fuel extraction, with declining annual targets that will wind down the industry to zero. Anything short of this is just hand-waving.— Jason Hickel (@jasonhickel) August 20, 2021
What does a low-carbon society look like? The economic anthropologist Jason Hickel has an answer: “degrowth.” Hickel is one of the leading scholars of this economic theory that calls for the global economy to be strategically reduced to minimize its environmental impact. Hickel argues that the status quo of endless economic growth is destroying the planet, while also failing to provide people with basic human rights like food and water. He shows his followers how both the planet and humans can thrive under the constraints of degrowth.
9. Xiye Bastida
The youth climate organizer Xiye Bastida has urged climate action on some of the world’s biggest stages, but she uses her social media platforms to encourage everyday people to join the environmental movement and prioritize sustainability in their own lives. She co-founded the Re-Earth initiative, which calls on people to pledge to reconnect with the natural world and provides various sustainability tips.
10. Julia Steinberger
We're barrelling head first into a cataclysmic climate disaster of planetary scale, and our governments and economies are COMPLETELY disregarding the emergency exit that would spare us. We're not going to make it, and it's not because "solutions" don't exist.— Prof Julia 🌍🌹🌱 ClimateAction FightFascism 🇵🇸 (@JKSteinberger) July 14, 2021
A 🧵, I guess.
The ecological economist Julia Steinberger’s recent Twitter thread on demand-side climate solutions — meaning the purchases of individuals and companies — is an urgent resource for anyone interested in reducing their environmental impact through both personal and political life choices. In it, she explores how minimizing energy use and overall consumption can mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Steinberger is unabashed about the ecological threat facing humanity, but her work ultimately shows that the only thing standing in the way of protecting the planet is political will.
You can join the Global Citizen Live campaign to defeat poverty and defend the planet by taking action here, and become part of a movement powered by citizens around the world who are taking action together with governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make change.