Climate Change Marches Fall on Deaf Ears

3 Ways to Fight Climate Change that Don't Involve Marching in New York

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted September 22, 2014

ccmarch4The streets of New York were barely visible underneath the more than 400,000 people who showed up for the People's Climate March on Sunday.

Word is, this was the biggest turnout for any climate march ever held. Although how many climate marches have there really been?

In any event, those who turned out did so to in an attempt to attract the attention of world leaders who will meet at the UN tomorrow to discuss the threat of climate change. And they probably succeeded in that goal. But the truth is, that's about all that was really accomplished.

Power to the People

There's no doubt that climate change is a divisive issue –particularly in politics where Democrats and Republicans continuously battle it out in an attempt to cater to their respective constituents.

Today, conservative media are mocking and trivializing the motives of those who attended the March, and liberal media are championing it as some kind of great triumph. Both are irresponsible and serve no purpose other than to facilitate the political divide that politicians love so much. But today, I'd rather focus on looking at this from a more pragmatic view.

The truth is, there are a lot of folks in the United States that believe climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed. But “a lot of folks” does not represent the majority.

A few months ago, a Gallup poll indicated that only 24% of Americans say they worry about climate change a great deal. This could be for any number of reasons, ranging from lack of objective coverage and political influence to just plain apathy. But whatever it is, the majority of Americans don't really seem to be too worried about climate change.

Of course, even a minority of Americans is still enough to make a difference. It's just that marching through the streets of the Big Apple isn't going to do it.

No One Cares

When it comes to protests and marches, I tend to be a bystander. I just don't think they're particularly effective. Instead, I find that the best way to instigate change is through your own purchasing decisions.

No one with any kind of real power cares about drum circles or your protest signs. I mean, let's be serious. Do you think any of these signs would make the CEO of an oil company say, “Yeah, we should shutter our $200 billion business. It's hurting the planet.”

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Look, I'm not trying to be an asshole. I'm just being honest.

The truth is, if you really want to do your part to mitigate climate change, take action with your wallet.

Buy organic food, install some solar panels on your home, buy an electric car, buy a bike.

The March was a nice show, but I promise you, 400,000 people marching to fight climate change means nothing to the coal companies that fuel nearly 40% of the nation's power plants. It means nothing to the owners of the fracking operations that have transitioned the United States from a net importer of petroleum to a net exporter. It means nothing to Big Ag CEOs that run highly-pollutive industrial farming operations that provide nearly all the food Americans eat on a daily basis.

If you want to be a part of the solution, you must first transition yourself away from being part of the problem. That means putting the kibosh on conventional, industrially-produced food. It means making a real effort to reduce the amount of driving you do in an internal combustion vehicle. It means going solar or incorporating real energy efficiency measures in your home.

No one's perfect, but if you believe climate change is a very real threat that needs to be addressed right now, you'll make the appropriate purchasing decisions in your own life, and not put so much emphasis on attempting to lure the powers that be with just another protest.