These are just four of the billions of people who can help reduce carbon emissions and make a difference to our planet’s future, be this by marching the streets, investing in research, speaking out, negotiating policies, or even just changing certain lifestyle habits. All these things are happening already, but it’s clear most need to happen with greater frequency and scale. Natural disasters are now occurring nearly five times as often as they were in the 1970s, and it’s beginning to feel like we’re being pitched for a horror film that no one likes the sound of, but which continues to be funded anyway.
Different people with different ‘powers’ are acting out in different ways.
Big businessmen like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson have announced that they will be joining forces to create a new fund that will encourage private investment in clean energy. Zuckerberg has specified that the purpose of the fund will be to invest in “ideas that have the potential to transform the way we all produce and consume energy”.
All sorts of celebrities, such as Pope Francis, are becoming important leaders for climate activism. Now even the cautious David Attenborough has publicly come out as climate change evangelist. He’s admitted to previously being sceptical about climate change, but has said that this year’s climate conference in Paris is “almost the last chance” to get a handle on the very real emergency.
Politicians from 195 nations came together at the COP21 to set goals and negotiate agreements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions as the primary cause of climate change. Hundreds more sustainability leaders from both the private and public sector have also been invited to deliberate how we can cut emission in a fair, but urgent and effective manner. Liftshare’s CEO Ali Clabburn will be amongst them at an EU flagship event exploring “Transport decarbonisation as an engine for growth”.
Millions (if not billions) of others around the world are also playing their part by creating YouTube videos, setting up projects and opting for more sustainable lifestyle choices. That’s why an increasing number of drivers, like Ella, are offering lifts through websites such as Liftshare, as a social and economical way of helping the environment. Certainly if we all act together the impact can be huge. For example, if car occupancy increased to from 1.6 to 2 people per car, then CO2 emissions would drop by 9 Million Tonnes.
The actions of Attenborough, Gates, Pope Francis and you will be central to whether we’re able to keep global warming below what most scientists say is the critical threshold of 2 degrees Celsius of warming. So don’t turn the heating up; use this as an excuse to wear that questionable Christmas jumper instead!
 Keith Tovey MA PhD CEng MICE CEnv
Author Lucie Boyle