COVID-19 cases are rising in the UK once more, just in time for Christmas. It feels like lockdown 2.0 will be like Grease 2: a spectacle of declining public interest, with bad haircuts and unwelcome crowd scenes. Indeed, that movie’s tagline captures the moment: "the music and feeling go on forever!"
But whether we’re stuck indoors or not, the planet will keep spinning, the atmosphere goes on warming, and Jedward shall continue tweeting, weirdly emerging as the unexpected heroes of 2020. There’s a feeling that life must go on — or at least, issues concerning the survival of humanity can’t be ignored for several months longer. Climate change won’t wait for the pandemic to pass.
Since the world locked its doors in March, one look through our windows lays bare the challenge ahead: devastating wildfires in California, billions of locusts decimating crops in Kenya, terrible cyclones in India and Bangladesh, frequent flooding in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the highest temperature ever recorded.
But human beings adapt. In dark times, people look to the future with optimism — like how the majority of the British public are now desperate for a green recovery from the pandemic. That includes a society with local food, less traffic, more parks, and a better balance between work and life. The struggles of the people against the climate crisis keeps gaining new momentum.
Don’t despair if there’s another national lockdown. The month of October is actually a big month in climate activism — and you don’t have to move an inch from your sofa to play your part. While plans to build back better get underway, it’s vital we keep the light firmly shining on environmentalism. If we can keep the conversation green, there will always be hope.
Here’s four ways you can help keep the climate crisis front and centre.
1. Share the message
After Al Gore released An Inconvenient Truth — the trailblazing Academy Award-winning 2006 documentary on the climate crisis — he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
It spoke to the power of film to move the public in profound ways. Similarly, research has shown that 88% of people who watched Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II have since changed their behaviour. When people are shown the sublime beauty of our world and are told the truth about the scale of the threat facing it — it makes people want to act.
The movement against the climate crisis is, essentially, a fight for what it means to be human: to make joy an immediate possibility, to keep hope alive, to celebrate our connection to nature. And on Oct. 2, a coalition of climate groups including Global Citizen launched Choose Life — a campaign and short film, inspired by the opening to Trainspotting, to put forward that kind of vision for a better future.
All the creative stuff is being led by Richard Curtis — 2019’s Global Citizen of the Year and award-winning director of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually, and pretty much every other canonical romantic comedy — with the film directed by music industry legend Adam Smith, known for his work with The Chemical Brothers and The Streets.
But most importantly, the film is a platform for action. If you head to the Choose Life homepage, you can help us call on the UK government to pursue an economic plan that prioritises green jobs and investment; you could join a local Extinction Rebellion group; or find out how to get your pension investing in renewable energy projects.
Right now, we have the opportunity to create a cleaner, fairer world, where no one is left behind. I’m asking the UK government to #ChooseLifeNow and take strong climate action. I Choose Life. What do you choose? @TheGlobalGoalshttps://t.co/iavFGNati4— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) October 2, 2020
2. Help find new ideas
The best things about the moon landing in 1969 didn’t really have anything to do with space.
That historic pursuit of human excellence led us to some generation-defining inventions: CAT scanners, smoke detectors, water purification devices, and so much more. But what if all that energy — that lust for progress and innovation — was less about leaving our planet, and more about saving it?
The Earthshot Prize — the most prestigious environmental award in history, according to Sir David Attenrbough, who launched it on the first day of 2020 with Prince William — aims to tap into this with a prestigious awards ceremony every year for a decade, to empower the greatest thinkers of our species to come up with solutions to the climate crisis.
On Oct. 8, Earthshot revealed the five key areas it will target to find new ways to improve the health of the planet with five short videos made by Sir David Attenborough’s production company. It also opened up its nominations panel for next year! The quest for the next grand idea is on — and the further afield we share the mission, the more likely we are to find it.
Find out more on their website here. Join us in helping spread the word!
Introducing The Earthshot Prize, the most prestigious global environment prize in history.— The Earthshot Prize (@EarthshotPrize) October 8, 2020
This new global prize for the environment will incentivise change and help to repair our planet over the next ten years – a critical decade for the Earth. pic.twitter.com/biAZecHuml
3. Learn from the best
Anybody that spent lockdown learning a new language, baking sourdough loaves, or growing a vegetable patch — you’re amazing! The rest of us were either frantically refreshing Twitter, binging Tiger King, or dragging ourselves, joylessly, zombie-like, to yet another Zoom quiz.
But this time will be different. We’re stronger now. Evolved and — so long as Nicolas Cage’s movie about Joe Exotic doesn’t hit Netflix any time soon — ready to learn about stuff!
Good timing, then, that on Oct. 10, TED and Future Stewards , a day of talks from 50 world-leading experts on the climate crisis. The goal? To bring together all the best ideas Planet Earth has got to help cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.
The speakers varied from those beating back climate change on the front lines (like the incredible activist Xiye Bastida), to the politicians shaping the policy conversation (including Al Gore, Labour MP David Lammy, and António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations), and even those famous faces keeping the issue in the limelight (such as Prince William, Jaden Smith, and Mark Ruffalo).
The world’s biggest problems require creativity like we’ve never seen before. Like inventing penicillin, or the internet, or the music videos of OK-Go. And Countdown came to give all that Einstein energy a stage to spread its sciency wings.
Are you ready to save the 🌎? Join us on 10.10.20 for @TED Countdown: A FREE live streamed global event to change how we tackle climate change! Featuring: @MarkRuffalo, Christiana Figueres (@CFigueres), Jaden Smith (@c.syresmith), @thisissigrid and more. PLUS: Talks from the world’s leading climate activists, businesses, researchers and scientists, musical performances and tips on how we each can take real, lasting climate action today. Are you ready to #JoinTheCountdown? Visit the link in the bio to learn more, see the full speaker lineup and sign up for event reminders!
4. Pledge to go further
Every single day, we all make tiny, seemingly insignificant decisions that — when you add it all up over years and decades — can make an astronomical difference to the climate crisis.
Like — what energy company are you with? Where do you get your food? Do you still eat meat? How often do you buy clothes that are second hand? Do you shop for them online?
OK, interrogation over. The point is, all those tiny actions matter. That’s why Count Us In — an online platform with the goal to inspire 1 billion people — used the Countdown event to launch 16 actions that will significantly reduce your carbon pollution.
From Oct. 10, all you’ve got to do is head to their platform and take a series of pledges — and Count Us In will tell you how much carbon dioxide those actions will take out of the atmosphere.
This doesn’t mean we’re letting governments off the hook. Far from it.
In fact, a central pillar of the campaign is urging people to write to their MP, call on world leaders to act, and speak up to their employers at work. Individual action is all well and good, but without political support, it’s The Day After Tomorrow for the human race.
But we still have a few years left to change the path we’re on. That means demanding our leaders step up to represent us — and changing our own business as usual in any way we can. Otherwise it’s Jake Gyllenhaal, in unflattering winter-wear, stuck in a walk-in-freezer that used to be the New York Public Library. Nobody wants that. Not Jake, not you, not anybody.
WHAT WE DO COUNTS— Count Us In (@CountUsInSOCIAL) October 10, 2020
If 1 billion of us come together and take steps to significantly reduce our carbon pollution, we'll also challenge leaders to deliver bold, global change.
Can we count *you* in?
Take a step today on https://t.co/EfQowCyzD5#CountUsInhttps://t.co/1IGRgeTdmOpic.twitter.com/xDJFntEoGe