Green causes have gone mainstream, yet we are not doing nearly enough to live well through this century.
Despite being a non-stop topic on daily news, climate action is still on the fringes of global politics. The lack of political dedication is, however, a more complex issue than it might seem on the surface. According to a new paper in Frontiers in Communication power is the key.
Green causes have gone mainstream, yet according to the most recent IPCC insights we are not doing nearly enough to live well through this century. Thus, researchers suggest that while each individual contribution makes a difference, its structural changes that decide if this difference multiplies in measurable ways.
Building on a pool of recent research, the authors say there is a critical need for more understanding and more action focused on broader societal and structural changes that bring about long-term dedication to climate action and go beyond the individual and the everyday.
Activism in itself doesn’t translate into meaningful climate action and well-crafted policies often do not transform into effective politics. Thus, for real systemic change to happen, green advocates should aim to influence societal trajectories on a grand scale over the long term. It is time for them to dig deeper into where their leverage points lie and how to properly get them to work, trying to “generate the collective action necessary to shift existing power dynamics,” the authors argue.
Attaining mastery in building long-term relationships with political circles is one example. We don’t need to look further than the US to see how easy it is to roll back policies that have taken years or even decades to implement nationally. At the same time, we can see how engaged citizenship and political dedication at the state level have helped to sustain and even improve on action locally.
Another way is for activists to become large-scale change-makers by themselves; for example through social experimentation or teaming up with business and followers to acquire lands dedicated for commercial development and instead use them for conservation or building wildlife corridors. The study’s key message is that activists should seek to engage more directly in policymaking to achieve the structural changes required to keep climate change manageable.