Fighting Global Warming and Sparking a Movement

Winning this daunting fight will take every strategy we can muster. Why should you get involved? Why not let others lead? Here's what the two of us have discovered over the last few years: as people begin to get engaged in the growing climate movement, they join conversations about changing their lives for the better. When someone then speaks and acts—for example, by addressing fellow worshippers at a church, synagogue, or mosque about the moral obligation to be a steward of the earth or by helping a local community college switch to compact fluorescent lightbulbs— these words and deeds provide symbols of a new, more promising world. In this way, small, humble efforts are more important than they may first seem, and as the climate movement grows, this process of face-to-face persuasion and collaboration is building robust social networks. These networks will not only help in the fight against global warming, but they will also enhance our daily lives. Joyful outcomes of the growing climate movement include the connections, friendships, and newly found meaning that people discover as they take action.

So, can we really win the fight against global warming? With a new groundswell—a new kind of movement, tailored to the opportunities of this new century—we believe we can.

In this age of polarized politics and civic disengagement, skeptical observers may view this kind of widespread citizen action as naive, outmoded, or even irrelevant to the biggest issues that we face such as climate change. We remind skeptics, however, how it has been done before, on other fronts. Citizen-powered groundswells, time and time again, have taken on seemingly impossible challenges and have proved successful. Think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. Recall Gandhi and the struggle for an independent India. Remember the fight for women's suffrage in the United States.

Over the past few years, people have asked how we can remain upbeat given all that we know about the threat of climate change. We both unhesitatingly reply that we cannot imagine anything more fulfilling than working on one of the most important issues of our time, alongside old and new friends. Even though the challenge is immense, we agree with Bill McKibben's words in Ignition's preface: there is much inspiration and joy to be had on this road.

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