By now we know that the planet needs saving. There are millions of tons of human-made garbage floating in the sea, forests being burned and otherwise destroyed, and gases rising into the atmosphere multiplying the negative natural disaster effects. It’s not exactly a pretty picture.
There is a lot of work to do if we want to minimize the damaging effects of climate change. It can seem overwhelming, but the scale of the task doesn’t have to discourage you. The fact is, we need all hands on deck to make a difference. The ship will go where it needs to go if we all do our part.
Darin Olien has dedicated most of what he does in life to tackling this problem. He’s a nutritional guru, and an environmental activist, but you probably know him best from co-hosting Down to Earth with Zac Efron. He shared his experiences with us about being a Netflix star, and more importantly, what we can do about climate change.
How to Talk About Climate Change
As we are learning from the current election and shows like The Social Dilemma, we tend to hear from and talk to similarly-minded people a majority of the time. Your social media circles and likely even a lot of the people you see in person, have similar ideas to you. What does this mean?
A few things to remember: First, if you speak up often, you are probably mostly speaking to the choir. We know you care about climate change, and so do we. So what? What are we going to do about it? Second, because you are mostly speaking to the choir, you don’t feel the pressure from different opinions and so your voice becomes more aggressive and there is less room for those with different priorities or beliefs to participate.
Darin came across these same feelings while filming Down to Earth. He knows that if he were in charge of making the film, it would have been less conservative. Fewer people would have watched, and those that did would have been “in their pod” already. Instead, the people that watched the show didn’t expect to learn about the environment or their health because they weren’t being talked to, they were just listening in on the conversations.
Consider these things as you talk more about climate change. First of all, expand your circle. We can’t keep talking to the same group of people if everyone is going to get on board. Be willing to hear different thoughts and understand some people have varying priorities.
Second, be kind and play the long game. Keep friendships and be the person that your friends and family know they can go to if they want to learn more. Our actions don’t change overnight. Sometimes just knowing who they can ask climate change questions about when they start thinking about it more is the best thing you can do.
How We Can Make a Change Now
Opening the gates of communication is a great way to start, but posting that you care about the planet on Instagram isn’t going to be what saves it. We need big change. Really big. To be perfectly transparent, bigger than what we can do on an individual level. Making small changes in our lives is a good thing! Being aware of our consumption is important, but to make a difference we need the big players to change.
Corporations have to fundamentally change. No amount of recycling is going to change the trajectory we are on. In fact, Darin told us that less than 10 percent of what we think is going to be recycled actually does. Most of it goes in the ground or a dump somewhere. Even then, consumer products aren’t the biggest contributors to global warming.
So how can we change the system? There are two ways to get to the corporations. One is from policy. We need to use our vote to get the right people in office and the right policies passed. And two, we need to vote with our feet and wallets. Simply put, companies won’t make things that we don’t buy.
There is hope. More and more countries, companies, and individuals are changing their ways. Many experts estimate that it is too late to avoid damage from climate change, but all that means is that the sooner we work to change, the less damage there will be. It’s important to not give up hope and to act as soon as possible. Keep learning and keep acting on what you learn.
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Thank you to my wonderful sponsor Tracksmith, Athletic Greens, and Team Onyx Adventure Racing for sponsoring this episode of the Running for Real Podcast.
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As being a part of the World’s Toughest Race, Team Onyx was the first all-Black team in the expedition racing, representing the best qualities and strength that come from diversity. As you may remember Coree Woltering is on this team and they could use as much support as they can as they are trying to get into the World’s Toughest Race: Patagonia.
Visit here to show your support by buying their apparel, learning more about the team, and what events they have coming up.
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Thank you to Darin, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.