Lessons on How to Fight Climate Change

Beth Gardiner in YaleEnvironment360

Exponential growth shows the urgency of swift action. Waiting to see the impact ignores the “terrifying power of compounding growth.” Watching leaders absorb this is “a learning curve we have never seen before.” Government acting to enforce personal choices to protect others. Leaders are more fearful of mistakes than inaction and vested interests prevail. COVID-related emissions reductions will likely be temporary.

We need “multi-solving,” Beth Sawin’s work, addressing large problems together (pandemic and climate change). Sawin advocates telling the story of COVID as “an accelerated version” of the climate story, with the same plot structure but a different timeline. We honor the pain of the pandemic by putting the lessons to good use.

Journalist and author of Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution, Beth Gardiner has published in the NY Times, The Guardian, National Geographic and Smithsonian, and was long an AP reporter.

A member of the original Council on the Uncertain Human Future (the national group), Beth Sawin is co-director at Climate Interactive, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that helps people see what works to address climate change and related issues like energy, health, food security and disaster risk reduction.