Do you ever experience paralysis by analysis? It’s when you try to make a decision, but get presented with so many options that you literally go round and round in circles, unable to make a final call, stuck in the comparison space.
Indecision usually leads to procrastination and a distinct lack of progress. This phenomenon can occur during tasks as small as buying a pair of jeans, right up to making large investments like buying a car, buying a house, or as we’ll discuss in this post – choosing how to do your part to help the climate crisis.
And what a big crisis it is! In no other aspect of life are we confronted with so many paralysing symptoms: wildfires, fierce hurricanes, floods and heatwaves that destroy homes and take lives. And when it all gets too much, straight out war.
Meanwhile, the solutions most often presented to us seem shockingly inconsequential in the face of such worldwide carnage.
Does it really matter if I buy a bamboo toothbrush? Or order the vegetarian lasagna instead of a steak? Does it make any difference if I buy an electric car? Or get solar panels?
Presented with uninspiring (and often expensive) choices, it’s easy to fall into a state of paralysis, where personal climate crisis solutions fall into the ‘maybe-one-day’ wish bucket.
Fear not! There is light at the end of the tunnel…
Let us present two arguments that can help you move from a paralysing mindset to a place of action. Where your internal morals align with your daily choices and activities. A place where you can feel proud of your contribution, without having to spend thousands of dollars in the process.
Argument 1: It’s ridiculously cheap to help if you know where to donate.
On a per capita basis, NZ generates 7.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per person, each year (16.9 tons if you include methane). Meanwhile, the most effective climate change charities can avert 1 ton of CO2 emissions for as little as $1 USD.
Can you spare a few dollars to essentially counteract your share of our national carbon footprint and do your part for the climate crisis?
The Carbon Critical Net-Zero fund was created to allow New Zealanders to donate to the world’s most effective charities fighting climate change. All donations qualify for a tax rebate.
To make a donation now and take meaningful action on climate, visit: https://netzerofund.co.nz/
Better yet, start a regular savings habit, putting aside a few dollars a month into your own ‘climate fund’ and donate at regular intervals.
That’s the first step – make a simple donation that immediately helps reduce the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere.
Now let’s go back to those individual choices, like the bamboo toothbrush.
Argument 2: Change inspires change.
Here’s the paradox, we know that individual change doesn’t make much of a difference, but change as a society would have an impact.
If we all rode the bus to work or ate a bit less meat, or rode e-bikes around town instead of petrol-guzzling cars, our emissions would reduce drastically.
While that might seem a million miles away right now, remember that societal change is simply the collective sum of a whole lot of individual change.
For major change to occur, individuals must start the process. Some of us have to lead by example to inspire others.
So when you hand over your keep cup next time you order a coffee, don’t just think about the one plastic lid you helped save. Remember that by making that purchase you send a message to every other person in that shop that you value this planet. That you care about doing the right thing. You show a local business they should support eco-friendly solutions.
Next time you order a vegetarian meal while eating out with friends, you show others that it’s cool to care about the environment. That you won’t wither away from a lack of protein. You show restaurants it’s important to provide climate-friendly options.
These actions spark conversations that are like little seeds, planted in the brains of others. Seeds that, given time and encouragement, will create change.
These small actions are critical to the long-term success of the fight against climate change.
In the long term, we need to drastically change the way we live on this planet. We need to remove fossil fuels from our economy. We need to stop sending so much waste to landfills and find more efficient ways to grow food.
We need both types of solutions – immediate emergency responses (the Net-Zero Fund) combined with long-term lifestyle change (bamboo toothbrushes et al.). And we need both to happen as quickly as possible before it’s too late.
Consider a two-pronged approach to environmental action.
Step 1 – Take care of the ‘am I doing any good?’ voice in your brain by making a tax-deductible donation to ridiculously effective charities using the net-zero fund. Every dollar helps.
Step 2 – Optimise your personal lifestyle to be as climate-friendly as possible, and inspire others to change along the way.
Once you start this journey, you’ll find yourself moving gradually along the green spectrum, which starts with taking reusable shopping bags to the supermarket and slowly moves us towards a deep ecology world where the living environment as a whole is respected and regarded as having certain basic moral and legal rights to live and flourish, independent of its instrumental benefits for human use.
Short term mitigation + long term adaption = a powerful combination.
Invest in the most effective climate solutions available and be the change you want to see in the world.
Together, we can make a difference.
PS. For specific ideas to optimise your personal lifestyle, check out our previous post on 27 ways you can help reverse global warming.