If you're thinking "What can I actually do about climate change?", 52 Climate Actions offers one simple answer: commit yourself to positive action right now. Visit the 52 Climate Actions website now to discover what your next step will be.
Our ethos: Changing the status quo
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted the impact of 1.5 degrees of warming and challenged us all to do more.
Climate change isn’t an isolated phenomenon, but a symptom of a broken relationship between humanity and nature. Responding to it isn’t about developing new technologies or maintaining our current lifestyles using less carbon. It’s about redesigning our lives towards greater simplicity, fewer possessions, stronger community, healthier lifestyles, with more making and less buying.
It calls us beyond sustainability (simply maintaining the status quo) to regeneration (making things better). It offers multiple opportunities to address other crises: pollution, economic inequality, loss of biodiversity, breakdown of community, runaway greed etc. Climate change can't be tackled without fundamental changes in how we think, both individually and collectively.
Can individuals really make a difference?
Yes, and in fact we’re the only ones who can. While governments and corporations have a huge role to play, most emissions come from shopping, eating, travelling and domestic energy use - all done on a daily basis by people just like us. Governments can provide legislation and financial incentives, businesses can reduce the carbon footprint of the goods and services they provide, but ultimately it’s up to us to change.
The same is true of adaptation; governments can create massive adaptation schemes of many kinds, but only when we're willing for our taxes to be spent on them. Even then, it often still comes down to individual and community action tailored to local circumstances. Again and again we see that governments follow, and scale up, where small communities have led the way.
This is why each of the 52 actions featured not only have ideas about personal actions you can take in relation to specific ideas within travel or food, for example, but also those that can be implemented at a community and global level.
Our story: How it all began
52 Climate Actions formed in 2015 after the International Permaculture Convergence declaration to the Paris Climate Conference. Eight organisations came together to promote permaculture solutions to climate change:
- Permaculture Association Britain (PAB)
- Permaculture Solutions for Climate Change Group
- International Permaculture Education Network (IPEN)
- Dream Awake (Australian permaculture consultancy)
- Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Change, Lisbon University
- Edinburgh Napier University
- Schumacher Institute
- Susie Poole (Independent consultant)
The goal is to:
- help you understand your personal power in tackling climate change
- show you the best responses to climate change
- promote these solutions
- inspire you to action help you reduce your carbon footprint, adapt to climate change, and embrace a low carbon culture
Our work: The 52 actions
In 2017 the partnership secured $100,000 from the VK Rasmussen Foundation to create a website of tried and tested actions to tackle climate change, rooted in permaculture. 52 of the most effective climate actions that can be taken by individuals and communities in the Global North have been chosen for phase one of the project.
All these actions fall into three categories: those to reduce your carbon footprint; those to help you cope better with the effects of climate change, and those that aim to change your mindset.
In July 2019 we launched 52 action cards and supporting web pages hyperlinked to scientific and learning resources on our new website, 52climateactions.com.
Our goal: Change the system
Climate change cannot be tackled without fundamental changes in the economic system.
Actions such as ‘Make more, buy less’, ‘Pay producers fairly’ and ‘Eat local, seasonal food’ reflect an economy that restores relations between producers and consumers, with emphasis on buying quality instead of quantity.
Alternatives to the private car and the plane would reshape our cities around shorter journeys by bike, bus and train, and online contact could replace much international travel.
Strengthening community is vital. People are more likely to follow through on an action if they commit to it together, while many actions such as composting and power generation are best conducted at community level. As a result, we've included community regeneration actions such as ‘Join a climate action group’, ‘Hold a party’ and ‘Share your home’.
Phase two, 'Changing Behaviour for Good',
The 2nd stage (from July 2019 to March 2023) was the public launch, using the global network of our partners to reach as many new audiences as possible.
This phase was wholly focussed on experimenting with and learning from a broad international audience of users to see how we could maximise the impact of the project in creating real change.
We now have a set of all 52 cards available for teachers/facilitators to download as a pdf from the website (for free), and several lesson plans for teacher and community facilaitators.
How you can help
There are two ways you can currently help the project during this stage:
1. Fundraising. We want to create new educational resources and research the best ways to bring about real change. We want to create 52 Climate Actions for the Global South, 52 Climate Actions for Children, and 52 Climate Actions for Businesses. If you can help, get in touch: [email protected]
2. Publicity. If you or your organisation can help us spread the word, please let us know: [email protected]
Find out more: You can read more about all aspects of the project in our halfway report below or visit the 52 Climate Actions website.