Simple change you can make to tackle the climate crisis

·News and Video Producer
·3-min read

We’ve challenged Australia’s best minds in sustainability to give us one simple tip each week that can help our readers make a difference to the environment.

How an individual can have an impact on the massive issue of climate change is daunting to consider, but 19-year-old activist Patsy Islam-Parsons has a suggestion as to where to start.

With earlier issues like composting and sustainable clothing, our experts suggest one-step solutions to help, however climate change is so multi-faceted that Ms Islam-Parsons took a different line.

Left - A woman adjusting the heating. Right - A woman shopping in a supermarket.
Tackling the climate crisis is bigger than individuals adjusting the way they live their lives, Ms Islam-Parsons believes.

Her suggestion to tackle the climate crisis isn’t to simply use less electricity at home, or not drive to the supermarket, but instead involves engaging with friends and family with conversation about the issue.

“I do think it’s important in these sorts of discussions to remember that you’re not at fault for (doing things like) turning on a light,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

“The answer is not that everyone should turn off their lights, the answer is more nuanced and more big picture than that.”

The issue, she says is the source of that electricity and its impact on the environment. 

Simple facts you need to know about impact of climate change

  • During extended droughts eucalyptus trees lose moisture in their leaves, robbing koalas of their water source, leading to kidney failure and death.

  • Australia was ranked last out of 193 countries by the UN in 2021 on action taken to reduce emissions.

  • By 2050, rising sea levels will see mass migration around the world as low-lying countries like Bangladesh are flooded. 

Why not to talk about polar bears and climate change

The Fridays For Future campaigner said discussions about the climate crisis can involve sharing concerns about how extreme weather will affect us personally, adding it’s important we have our facts right when discussing the issues.

While many campaigners have rightly focused on what this means for Arctic and Antarctic animals, Ms Islam-Parsons believes we also need to talk about the effect climate change is having closer to home.

A polar bear on dirty ice looking depressed.
Discussing climate change's impact on koalas, rather than polar bears, could help family members understand climate change is affecting Australia. Source: Getty

“Polar bears are hugely impacted by the climate crisis, because as ice melts during the summer, they are left stranded with no food sources,” she said.

“I do think generally if we focus a lot on animals like polar bears it makes the climate crisis seem very far away.

“The climate crisis is in fact impacting people all over the world including in Australia.”

Who is most likely to be impacted by climate change?

In the tradition of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, Australia’s Ms Islam-Parsons has now protested on Fridays for 99 weeks, holding a simple sign which warns about the climate crisis.

Patsy Islam-Parsons shown protesting in two images.
Patsy Islam-Parsons, 19, is approaching her 100th day of Friday protests. Source: Supplied

The world is now on average one degree warmer than it was before the industrial revolution, and while that may sound like just a tiny amount, it is destabilising the planet and will likely impact all of our lives.

More than this, by the time we reach 2050 and the impact of climate change will likely have worsened, and while many of us will be old and possibly gone by then, at 19 years of age, Ms Islam-Parsons won't even have reached 50.

Source: Yahoo
Source: Yahoo

"If you are a young person today like I am, you will likely experience significant effects of the climate crisis," she said.

"I hope to still be alive in the year 2090 for example, and so think about your children.

"They will be born in the coming decades and will be very much alive in the year 2100, and so they will experience even more extreme events."

More on how weather is changing across the planet

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