Millions Strike in Solidarity Against Climate Change
by Lily Blackwell, Catapult Intern
Greta Thunberg, 16, hero to climate activists and thorn to global leaders pulled off the worlds’ largest climate protest on Friday, September 20. Over 4 million youth protested worldwide: 100,000 in Berlin, 100,000 in London, and 250,000 in New York City. Greta joined other youth activists, like indigenous 13-year-old Autumn Peltier, at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference as keynote speakers. These youth activists urged global leaders to take climate action in solidarity with the millions of youth strikers.
I joined the 500-person crowd of strikers in Boulder, Colorado to add my voice in the mix. As an Environmental Studies and Political Science student at University of Colorado Boulder, I have learned firsthand how necessary policy reform is to mitigate climate change. Contrary to popular belief, the world is not ending— it’s just changing and leaving us behind. In 15 years, I will be 36 years old, perhaps just starting my family. If we don’t collectively change our pollution and waste habits, I will have to take my kids to the beach wearing Hazmat suits. Our lives as we know it will be entirely different.
It has been over 50 years since scientists have acknowledged climate change and now brands are beginning to lead. Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Tiffany’s, and more are doing their part to make a change. Innovative startups are also leading with new technologies like Holganix using environmentally friendly lawn-care products, bike sharing companies like Lime, and MIT’s Arctic Sand, an energy converter saving 80% of lost heat energy worldwide.
And in non-surprising news, doing good can be good to the bottom line too: In 2011, Patagonia began an initiative, urging consumers to repair their weathered clothes. Ironically, this directive actually boosted Patagonia’s sales nearly 30%. The attention this draws puts pressure on heavy polluting companies like Amazon, who recently gave into the pressure and announced its ‘Shipment Zero’ plan to make shipments carbon zero by 2030.
Interested in taking on carbon neutral and sustainability-aimed initiatives within your brand or on your own? Here are some easy steps to start:
- Fly commercial, save money and the atmosphere by flying private
- Be a part of the Plastic Impact Alliance
- Operate in a LEED-certified factory or office space
- Invest in water-saving toilets for office and home spaces
- Walk to work, carpool with coworkers, or even take public transportation
- Calculate your carbon footprint to see what areas you can adjust to become carbon neutral
- Restaurants: donate left over food to a nearby food bank instead of throwing it away
- Water brands: switch to using biodegradable plastics and promote water efficiency
- Clothing brands: shift to use recycled materials instead of new fabrics
- Grocery stores: encourage the use or reusable bags in addition to providing ‘plastic’ bags made of cassava
- City planners: shift zoning laws, mitigating the need for citizens to drive to every destination
- Brands of all types sourcing materials from South America: donate to support grassroots indigenous tribes and toward protected the Amazon
- Individuals: Vote for environmentally conscious initiatives, like cap-and-trade programs