If you watched the news during the summer you’ve probably heard report after report of all these natural disasters: floods, forest fires, extreme temperatures, you name it. In the media, reports start piling up: global warming is real, and we have to face this issue.

It frightens me to read reports about climate change. Here and there something positive seems to pop up in the climate story: at times when another climate demonstration is organized and it attracts many visitors; when the ‘Natuurdefensie’ files a lawsuit against Shell and wins it against all odds; or when a groundbreaking climate report from the United Nations climate panel (IPCC) is published. At the same time, sudden hopes immediately disappear when reports appear that polluter Shell will appeal the court ruling, or when it appears that the government’s policy is not effective enough to stop the earth from warming up.

As I write this blog I sense a sad feeling in myself. It feels so powerless as this is a problem that I feel is way beyond me. At such moments, despair sets in. At that moment I forget to reduce my ‘footprint’ for a while, and I buy fast fashion again and use a lot of plastic and waste (like coffee cups). Because what’s the point of these positive choices? Nothing of high impact will happen anyway. But at the same time I realize: it always starts with ourselves. How can we contribute in a positive way?

5 Tips To Contribute In A Practical Way

1) Take part in a climate march

Make your voice heard during a demonstration. You might be thinking, what’s the point if I show up? Showing up to a climate march makes more sense than you think: often the number of participants is counted, and the larger this number the more important ‘the issue’ is considered by the media.

In the Netherlands, the ‘Klimaatmars’ takes place on November 6th, at 1 p.m. at Dam Square in Amsterdam.

2) Signing petitions (or join an action)

You can sign environmental lawsuit petitions or petitions addressing government climate policy. There are a lot of petitions on the internet. There is a Dutch one that petitions a climate obligation for major polluters, or a petition to make put all of our names on a climate ‘waiting list’ to make the longest banner to walk with at a climate march (climate waiting list).

3) Donate to organizations (such as Greenpeace or Milieudefensie)

Join environmental organizations and keep an eye on their petitions. As I wrote before, Milieudefensie was able to file a lawsuit against Shell (Shell is an extremely large conscious polluter). Milieudefensie was able to win this lawsuit. Without donations and signatures, the lawsuit could never have been filed and the signatures could not have been handed over. These organizations are taking action. You can donate to Greenpeace here (please read about what the organization is doing first).

4) Make sustainable choices

Think about the ways you live the most polluting ways. If you find it difficult to change your habits, it can help to focus on one thing. Think, for example, of eating less meat, taking the car on holiday instead of flying, or taking the bike more often than the car, buying second-hand clothes instead of clothes in regular stores. You can read more tips on sustainable living at the sustainability section of our blog (for example, 7 tips to shop sustainably and to eat sustainably).

5) Keep politics involved in this issue

Ultimately, change is brought about from above by focusing on the problem. Vote for parties that care about the climate. Sustainability is an issue in which the European Union can play a role. If a country in Europe tightens its climate policy, companies such as Shell (large polluters) will relocate to another country in Europe. This can be solved by means of a broader, unambiguous European climate policy. You could choose to vote for a pro-European party, such as ‘Volt’ during the elections. This party stands for a strong climate policy. You can also read about what your party is doing when it comes to the climate and what they stand for.

We are very curious what you think of these tips, do you have any additions such as good tips or ideas about a sustainable lifestyle? Leave a comment below!