Jan Madill

A Climate Change Letter for All of Us

This is a multifaceted letter for you to read in any way that works well for you. Feel free to follow the links that currently speak most to you. You are welcome to send this link to the letter to anyone whom you think would find it helpful. You are also invited to thoughtfully use any of our written material. We see it as part of The Commons to help all of us better care for our small planet.

I’ve been increasingly thinking about human-caused Climate Change, what it means to us and to future generations, and what I can do to improve outcomes. I know some of you have been deeply involved in these issues for years and others are just beginning to grapple with these challenges. For those of you who have been deeply involved in these issues, I offer only my thanks and appreciation. I invite the rest of us to more deeply join together to work on Climate Change solutions in whatever ways best suits each of us. This is likely the biggest issue affecting life on earth in the last 66 million years (see The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert). In writing this, I also want to acknowledge that many of you are working on crucial issues, such as social justice, peace work, sustainable population and education, among others. Virtually always, I think all this work benefits Climate Change solutions and vice versa.

This letter is dedicated to all young people on earth and to future generations with love. May we all wake up more and act in ways that give them more sustainable futures.

It’s been a challenge writing this as I know so many very different people. It seems like what would speak to some of you would not be helpful to others. Yet, we all inhabit this one small, currently fast-changing planet. What to do…?!

In view of our differences in how we prefer to approach Climate Change, I decided to divide possible approaches into what I call Portals. Hopefully, at least one of the 8 Portals below will speak to you and you can follow those link/s.

To help orient you, the rest of this letter is divided into 3 main sections. It includes many links, so you can follow the ones that interest you, somewhat akin to a “Create Your Own Adventure” book.

Section 1: The Portals
Section 2: Information and Resources
Section 3: Beneficial Actions

This is far too much to take in at one sitting. I’d suggest that you start by visiting the link/s that interest you the most. Please consider using anything on these pages and writing your own letter or forwarding this one to those you know and care about. Or use it in any other way that seems good to you. This writing is not mine; it is all of ours.

The Portals

PORTAL 1 “Just the facts, doc…” This is a link to key statements about Climate Change.

PORTAL 2 “Tell me a story (or two)…” has stories to help you think more about Climate Change.

PORTAL3 “Does this make economic sense…?”

PORTAL 4 “Hope, I need hope!”

PORTAL 5 Things I have learned that have forever changed how I look at us and our earth

PORTAL 6 “I need a spiritual approach…”

PORTAL 7 “Hey, give me humor!”

PORTAL 8 Mystery, Wonder, Astonishment, Terror, Beauty, Imperfection, Never ending

I hope you have found at least one Portal that is helpful to you. Please let me know if you have ideas for other ones.

Information and Resources

Key statements about Climate Change 2014 has been an extraordinary year for getting much more unequivocal, important information.

Why is it often so hard to recognize what’s happening?

Why is it so hard sometimes to do something positive? And how might we get beyond that?

What is our timeline? And how might we think about it?

My carbon footprint and why does it matter? Carbon footprints of different countries.

Other pertinent websites

Beneficial Actions

Now is the time to think and act in a both/and fashion, rather than an either/or approach. Individual actions AND group actions are both important. And enough individual actions can add up to a large group action. Group bottom up AND top down actions can both be important. Let us acknowledge and appreciate the importance of many people working on these issues in many different ways.

What speaks to you? What interests you? What gets you excited? You don’t need to do the ones that get you totally bogged down! Other people will find them exciting. Find what energizes you!

Individual Actions
Doing something in this arena is I think important for all of us. Given the magnitude of the issues, I wouldn’t want to wait for the politicians to take the lead. And certainly not the fossil fuel corporations. However, the more they notice our money going toward renewable energy, the more they are likely to shift to better directions.

Find ways each day to continue to notice what you’re doing that uses fossil fuels. And that does not use fossil fuels. Be creative! Find new ways to live. Create low-carbon adventures! Share them with others. Live like we only have 1 planet, instead of the 4 that will be needed if everyone lived like an American (WWF 2014 Living Planet Report). The more of us who join together on this, the more we can have an enormous effect. Around the world all our individual decisions about travel, housing, food, products and services pay for 70% of global emissions (see shrinkthatfootprint.com/about).

Group Action, Bottom-Up
Do you especially enjoy being part of grass-roots organizations? Or perhaps even think it would be fun to start one related somehow to Climate Change solutions?

Group Action, Top-Down
Are you a politician? Or in some leadership position that potentially could have a positive impact? If there ever was an issue the size of an asteroid and with enormous potential one way or the other for future generations, here it is! Go for it! And tell the rest of us what you need to be effective.

For the rest of us, certainly one of the most important things we can do is let our elected officials repeatedly know that this is THE important issue and we will support them. This is something we can do individually and also in groups.

This Beneficial Actions link offers many suggestions for ways you can help work toward solutions.It is meant primarily as a springboard, so don’t feel limited by it! Keep in mind that many areas of interest, such as social justice or peace work, most likely will directly or indirectly help with Climate Change solutions. Find the area/s that most suit you. Please let me know if you have additional ideas.

To the countless friends, family and others who have helped with this project I give enormous thanks!