Let’s take The Jump, before the planet crosses the edge – Palatinate

Written by Cameron McAllister

Are we as individuals responsible for the Earth? It is a huge responsibility to take care of a planet. I can handle quite a few houseplants – are you telling me I’m responsible for the 6.6 sextillion tons of rock spurting through space at 67,000 miles per hour? I only have my temporary.

However, our politicians, our companies, and the media are all letting us down, so it’s a responsibility we have to take on. Nobody owns it. I, for example, don’t want to treat climate change like a phone call from an unknown number, even though I’d like to ignore it and hope it goes away.

The numbers are unknown, they are pretty clear: 1 degree Celsius warming since the late 19th century already, 30% increase in ocean surface water acidity, 416 parts per million carbon dioxide2 Atmospheric concentration (50% increase since the industrial revolution).

This is how the planet communicates with us, desperately asking for help.

There is a common tone that we as individuals are not responsible for climate change. Instead, the likes of “big oil companies” or “corporations” are to blame. These arguments are compelling in the face of the disappointment felt by so many of us – especially the younger generation, who are uniting vigorously against climate change – about how to run the world.

It’s a valid argument that highlights the power imbalances inherent in our societies, assigns blame to those who deserve it, and is an important refutation for those who prefer to blame things like overpopulation for the climate crisis.

But it also makes us more comfortable waiting for someone else to solve the problem while we continue to live as usual. Sitting watching the planet die, becoming increasingly sensitive to the horrific consequences that the climate crisis brings, until the consequences come upon us, it is too late.

Faced with the horrors of floods, droughts, sweltering heat, and more…we begin to think less about humanity

Implicit in the “blame the big oil” argument is the notion of fairness; Ordinary people shouldn’t change our way of life while the wealthy continue to fund their lavish lifestyles by exploiting a system that makes the Earth uninhabitable, so we won’t.

It’s a tempting argument. We all want the world to be fair. But the belief that in fact he is Just can have serious consequences. The ‘fair world hypothesis’ is a psychological bias that explains how when we are faced with evidence of injustice and there is no way to fix it, we will instead distort our view of anything horrible we see so that we don’t see it too horrific. . This can lead to distractions, such as Holocaust memorials that increase anti-Semitism and rapes that are blamed on their victims.

In the classic experiment showing fair world bias, participants who viewed live photos of a woman being electrocuted did not think about the woman when they no longer had the option to stop her punishment. I fear something similar is happening with the climate crisis.

Faced with the horrors of floods, droughts, scorching heat, and more, with no option to stop them, we begin to think less of humanity. How many times have you seen people say that humans are an epidemic on this planet? cancer? That the world be better off when we go extinct?

But we are part of nature. Our decline will wipe out billions of intelligent, compassionate, and compassionate humans, and it will also condemn the rest of the natural world to the sixth mass extinction we have already begun.

We have a duty and privilege to keep the only planet with a complex life in the universe alive. While governments and the private sector continue to move very slowly (according to the latest IPCC report, global emissions should peak by 2025), it is unfortunate that it is up to us to make the change.

The good news is that we can make a change

The good news is that we can make a change. An additional silver lining is that while this may mean less material possessions, it can mean a more fulfilling life.

what should we do? According to The Future of Urban Consumption in a 1.5 Degree World, a collaborative project by the University of Leeds, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and engineering consultancy Arup, there should be a two-thirds reduction in the impact of consumption in wealthy parts of the world.

The Jump is a grassroots movement that has developed six lifestyle transformations that will make this happen. They include spending the holidays locally, eating a plant-based diet, and making at least one “push the system” shift, such as moving to a greener bank. While the steps may seem restrictive to some, they may constitute an increase in consumption for most of the world, including the industrialized countries left behind by economic development.

For example, let’s take a look at air travel. Research indicates that less than 1% of people emit 50% of carbon dioxide from commercial aviation. In 2017, then-CEO David Muilenburg claimed that less than 20% of the world’s population had ever taken a flight. Thus, for the vast majority of the world, JUMP switching to air travel once every three years would be a shift to more flying.

The Jump asks people to “JUMP” with a subscription to try the 6 transitions for a month, 3 or 6 months, emphasizing that just doing your best is enough, and there are many tips on their website on the best way to jump. Dynamically, cutting back doesn’t have to mean living worse; The organization emphasizes that transitions are positive changes that can improve well-being.

The science on whether climate movements should focus on framing gain (emphasizing the positive outcomes of behavioral change) or framing loss (focusing instead on the costs of inaction) is “fuzzy,” according to Jack Hughes, a PhD student in behavioral sciences. . Science at Durham University.

However, there are pluses to The Jump’s positive approach. “I think avoiding discussing the climate crisis specifically is a good move,” says Hughes, explaining that the climate crisis has become a “very polarizing issue” as many people are held back by pro-environmental behavioral change by “perceived financial, time or social costs.”

However, some pledges, such as stopping the use of private vehicles, are difficult for many without governments investing enough in things like better bike infrastructure and cheaper public transport (just look at train and bus prices compared to the price of driving). From The Jump’s point of view, it’s enough just to try the undertakings, and doing what you can in your own case will encourage others to do the same, ultimately leading to system change.

People may not have enough time to change their lifestyle without government help

While The Jump recognizes the importance of government actions, it also points to research that has been conducted that shows that “people and societies can directly provide 25-27% of the changes needed by 2030 to avoid environmental collapse.” We are not powerless.

Hughes is not convinced. “One of the criticisms I would make is that there is no call to pressure governments or companies to change their behavior either,” he explained, explaining that “the problem with individual behavioral change is that when people take on sustainable behavior, they can use that to legitimize other people’s unsustainable action.”

The example given by Hughes is the carbon offset of flights causing people to view aviation as more environmentally friendly, leading them to take more flights “even though the most environmental behavior is simply less flying”.

“The concern with this initiative is that if it does not also promote the need to push for broader systemic change, it may make people believe, if the initiative is effective, that they are doing enough despite not being involved in one of the most important actions individuals can take.”

You could argue though that The Jump fills a niche, with many other environmental movements (Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain, and many more) already focusing on lobbying governments. These movements also tend to focus on the threat of climate change rather than the benefits that changing pro-climate behavior can bring.

As Hughes says, “While these things work for some, they also avoid others because they tell people to face imminent danger. Focusing on positivity and individual authority has a place. Ideally, we need both initiatives in the world.”

In fact, the main problem with movements that advocate behavioral change may be more real than the idea that people should be encouraged to stick with banks or close oil refineries. People may not have enough time to change their lifestyles without government help.

While the information and resources provided by The Jump may be helpful (Hughes cites the statistic that while 83% of people in the UK are concerned about the climate crisis, only 22% realize that changing their eating habits can be an effective way to combat climate change ), most people are very busy. “The reason behind so many failed behavioral change initiatives is that people don’t have the time or the cognitive ability to participate in forming new habits.”

Obviously, having the time and energy to commit to major changes to your lifestyle independently, with a little support from the government, is a privilege. If we can, we must continue to pressure governments and major oil companies so that these changes become easy and accessible to all. Make the world a little fairer.

Fortunately, a wealth of research shows that your individual actions can have a profound effect

But if you have the privilege, you have to act. If we misquote an old adage (yes, he’s not originally from Spiderman) with great privilege comes great responsibility. This means making major lifestyle changes, which may also improve your life. Fortunately, a wealth of research shows that your individual actions can have a profound effect.

In particular, life transitions, such as moving from one home to another, can be important “windows of opportunity” for initiating more sustainable behaviors. As your life is turned upside down and replaced with boxes, deposits, and tears, your usual habits are disrupted, making it easier for you to adopt new ones. You are (maybe literally) opening a new door.

In life, these transitions tend to occur regularly – especially to students and young adults – but at least they can be seen as a positive opportunity. The plant-based diet you’ve been considering may help you pay the rent.

Hughes agrees that the “fresh start effect” could make The Jump a “very effective initiative” for first-time university students, with the new context provided by moving to university to allow “new behaviors to relate to the new environment.”

Many believed that the Covid-19 pandemic would provide a fresh start to the fight against climate change, and an opportunity to reset our economies and refocus on climate goals. Instead, emissions are back to normal faster than our lives have, even as our time for climate action continues to evaporate.

Initiatives like The Jump may not be perfect, but it’s clear that the world needs all the help it can get. As those in power continue to run around the clock, while the mercury continues to rise with the sea, we must remember that our actions are powerful—at the risk of looking like an inspirational quote from wall decor. Living more sustainably might help us “live, laugh, love” a little longer.

Illustration: Rosie Bromelli