Notwithstanding the international community's efforts and the commercial and private sector alike, Greenhouse Gas or GHG discharges continue to increase, causing the world to continue to heat up. Is it not time for a different approach? The purpose of this project and the website called Target on Climate Change is to provide millions of individuals with minor solutions that they can employ to aid in the effort and perhaps even save money. It also provides each person with a personal record of their climate actions.
As the headlines and the climate scientists’ warnings become direr, many people exhibit an increasing fear of environmental disasters. Fear of ecological disasters is sometimes called eco-anxiety. It seems more prevalent among younger generations, perhaps because they have the most to lose in the future. This effect can include physical and mental illness. An example is a crippling depression that the young activist Greta Thunberg suffered and made her start school strikes in the Swedish Parliament. Her action has resulted in the growing Friday afternoon school strikes happening across the world.
The Unsettling Effects of Climate Change
The results of climate change include:
Rising sea levels.
Regional differences in precipitation.
Expansion of deserts.
More frequent excess weather events such as heatwaves.
Greenhouse gas emissions have also caused increasing ocean acidification. Surface temperature increases are highest in the Arctic. These temperatures have contributed to the retreat of glaciers as well as melting permafrost and sea ice.
Overall, higher temperatures bring more rain and snowfall, but droughts and wildfires increase instead for some regions. Climate change threatens to diminish crop yields, harming food security. Rising sea levels may flood coastal infrastructure and force the abandonment of many coastal cities. Environmental impacts include the extinction or relocation of many species as their ecosystems change, such as coral reefs, mountains, virgin forests, and the Arctic.
Climate Scientists have started to warn us about tipping points or positive feedback loops. Tipping points are where climate change effects can cause even more or worse climate change by increasing GHG. Examples include growing and devastating brush and forest fires in California, Canada, Russia, Brazil (particularly in the Amazon), and recently in Australia. Increasing temperatures have begun to melt the arctic permafrost, resulting in an enormous amount of methane – a climate gas with effects 18 times worse than CO₂. Loss of Arctic sea ice causes the sun to warm the darker water causing more ice to melt. There are many more similar examples.
The Recent International Efforts of the U.N.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), consisting of scientists from almost 200 member countries, released their report on Global Warming of 1.5°C in October 2018. The report stated that carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions must be reduced by half by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 to avoid catastrophic climate impact. 2030 is a little less than ten years away. Climate Change may turn out to be one of the most challenging problems the world has ever faced.
These findings are recognized by the national science academies of the major industrialized nations and are not disputed by any scientific body of national or international standing. The IPCC sponsored the Paris Accord on Global Warming in 2015 and organizes annual international global conferences on climate change called COPs (Conference of the Parties). It periodically also provides the world with increasingly dire warnings on the issue. The most dire warning was released on April 9, 2021.
National and Sub-national efforts
With the support of the U.N.’s and other organization’s efforts on climate change, many nations are in the process of reducing their GHG emissions or have committed to doing so. Some countries, such as Norway, have already met their targets.
U.S. Government agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have identified the last decade as the warmest since 1850. The warmest year on record happened in 2016, with 2019 following close behind. Several years have also exceeded climate history, being 1° Celsius warmer than pre-industrial years. This warming trend is expected to continue.
Many sub-national jurisdictions such as regions and cities push ahead with renewables, regulations, and other efforts. This activity occurs even when the national government's actions are not matching. For example, despite U.S. President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement, many states, regions, and cities moved ahead with their climate change reduction projects, activities, and support.
The Efforts of Many Other Sectors
There are many other private, governmental, business, and environmental organizations involved in the issue of climate change, such as:
Government-related organizations: The Global Covenant of Mayors and the previously mentioned NASA and NOAA.
Well-known organizations moving into the climate change sphere: TED and Countdown.
For-profit commercial organizations: Amazon, etc.
Academic and research organizations: MIT and others, etc.
Is it time for Individual Action?
Despite all of these efforts, GHG emissions keep rising. So why is this? It is because not enough is being done. Is there another possible approach? International and national governments, business and private organizations, and other groups have made most of the efforts. Can anything be done on an individual basis? Many individuals are trying to help. But is it enough?
According to the U.N., the total number of humans living reached 7.8 billion by March of 2020. It took over a few hundreds of thousands of years for the population to reach 1 billion and only a couple of centuries more to reach 7 billion. It may reach 9 billion by 2050.
According to Statistica, almost five billion people were active internet users as of the end of 2020, representing nearly sixty percent of the global population. Many countries with large populations rank ahead of all other countries in terms of internet users. Cybersecurity Ventures has estimated that there will be close to six billion Internet users by 2022, three-quarters of the projected world population.
The Individual Approach
To most people, stopping climate change seems highly complicated, challenging, and almost impossible to solve. The hope is somehow, someday, we will get a handle on the crisis. Many are losing that hope.
Many people don’t know where to start. Millions of people could help and possibly save money if lists of small solutions were available. Other websites have provided such lists. For example, the excellent Project Drawdown academic organization has provided a researched list of 100 answers. VOX has also provided a list called 101 Ways to Fight Climate Change.
However, what if, in each listed category, curated websites could provide introductory, reference, and how-to articles? Each suggestion describes and explains each issue individually, including the background, how to achieve the advice, and the expected emissions reduction. It could also include any monetary savings expected plus any cost of products or services required.
Selection of Individual Solutions
Google counts a search of “climate change” as 723,000,000 results. “Global warming” is not much better at 465 million. Many of these are related to government, commerce, private, environmental and, climate change websites.
While some list climate solutions, many are very general and not related to individual solutions. Those that do exist are difficult to search for and find. Many are not specific enough and do not provide practical how-to guides. Large numbers of these are not provided in a convenient package.
This Target on Climate Change site does NOT provide its own content on climate change. Instead, its purpose is to offer useable content sites across several climate sectors. Here, curated content websites provide users with specific user information for individual climate issues. This site starts with an initial list of content solution websites.
One of the purposes of the site is to encourage users to suggest other content websites with various solutions. It is difficult for an individual, or even a small group, to find the best solutions. Hopefully, by crowdsourcing, the effort will provide the best possible outcome and in the quickest manner.
To provide a valuable and practical site for individual solutions, the suggested curated content sites should:
be one or more of the best there is per solution
have an excellent chance to reduce personal emissions
be able to save the individual money in some situations
be practical and easy to use
To be fair to users who make recommendations, there will need to be a group or committee to evaluate suggestions and compare existing and recommended solutions. Solutions will either be a) added or b) replaced with an existing solution depending on the quality of the content solution.
The website’s TargetTracker allows individuals to document their current and future climate intentions in an online personal status record. The TargetTracker is a person’s GHG reminder on reducing emissions across the provided list of solutions. Emission reduction suggestions and the GHG status record can be in the language of choice.
These status records are saved in a master database or Blockchain by email address and retrieved whenever required. Initially, input to the Blockchain would be manual. Eventually, email reminders of these GHG status records are provided to citizens regularly (monthly, quarterly or yearly) according to preference. Printed personal status records can be used as reminders attached to refrigerators globally.
The Status record includes information on 1) what they have done and currently doing and 2) what they intend to do in the future. It consists of a self-rating Status feature such as numbers 1 to 5 and a Text section for comments. Whenever the status changes for a particular solution, today's date is automatically placed in a Date column opposite the rate. This change provides a time-based personal record of progress. The TargetTracker serves two purposes. It provides the users with a timely record of what they did or intend to do, and emails remind them to keep working to reduce climate change.
One of the heaviest users of fossil fuels across the various industry, buildings, and agriculture sectors is energy production. One person’s efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels may be insignificant. However, millions or hundreds of millions of individuals reducing the use of energy can have a significant impact on the reduction of the use of fossil fuels. One additional benefit would be citizens’ potential money savings in decline in fossil fuel costs.
Since nothing else is working sufficiently fast, why not give it a try? Is it possible the coming climate change disaster can (and must) be averted by citizens of the world?
The Need for Incentives
Although many people will have access to excellent curated climate solutions, it does not guarantee that people will use these results. In addition to the grave concern about climate change, there may be a need for further individual incentives. Human nature will always encourage the false hope that someone else will fix it.
People may benefit from publishing their experience using the provided climate solutions to the Target on Climate Change website. The climate Story of the Month is an opportunity to encourage others to begin the effort. Another possibility is regular competitions in comparative areas to reduce annual utility bills. Cash incentives and other prizes are also a possibility subject to financial limitations. However, proof of effort may be an issue here.
The purpose of this project is to help individuals fight the effects of climate change. It includes the pilot website entitled Target on Climate Change. This detailed Background document also forms the basis for the About menu on the Menu list.
The Home page includes a short purpose of the project followed by a gallery of images depicting the effects of climate change. The footer consists of the Copyright button, the My TargetTracker button, and a Comment and Suggestion button. Menu items include Home, About, Other Sites, Images, Contact, Donate, and the list of suggested Emission Solutions.
The suggested list of potential Climate Change Solutions page lists many of the possible things individuals could do to reduce emissions. The site starts with the Home Energy reduction sector since this is the most straightforward and logical place to start. Later other sectors could include:
- Agriculture and Diet
- Political Action
Funding is required to develop the project further, including website hosting, contracting website development, and content creation. Project management, advertising, and external relations may also require backing depending on future growth. A Donate menu item asks for individual donations. Other possible sources are advertising and recommended services or suggested product items. Further development of the website will also require additional personal resources.
Future improvements to the website will include additional emission reduction solutions, a Target Tracker to track individual progress, and a multilingual approach. Future languages would begin with French and Spanish, and others added as time and resources permit. A website area may be required to describe the experiences of users.
The purpose of this non-profit pilot project is to provide doable climate solutions applicable to individuals. There are two primary mechanisms suggested here that make that possible. In addition to this Target on Climate Change website, excellent curated websites are available across a wide range of climate issues. Secondly, the TargetTracker allows individuals to track their progress over time. Other groups may have suggested similar ideas.
Due to limited time and financial resources, this project cannot continue as a one-person project. More monetary and human resources are required to push these concepts forward. One solution is to partner with an International or National organization to communicate these ideas further. Other thoughts may come forward over time.
All comments and suggestions are welcome. Kindly forward these to the Contact page.
G. M. Holt