Can one person make any difference in addressing a problem as huge as global warming and worldwide environmental degradation?
Yes, indeed! The problem may be vast, but there are over 6 billion of us on this planet to work on the solution. Nations will take actions, but this web site is dedicated to what can be done by any of Earth’s inhabitants. Cumulatively, that could be more powerful than any national or international policy.
There are examples throughout history of individuals who become pivot points for good (or ill) in society. And there are even more examples of how groups of people have solved problems through teamwork and cooperation. If you look at your own city or town, you likely will see these dynamics playing out on all sorts of local issues. The same methods by which people grow a thriving community that is healthy, safe and prosperous are the methods that can help that community preserve its own habitats, air quality, water sources, and so on.
You may ask how local environments can affect the entire globe? It is really straightforward. All forms of pollution, all emissions of greenhouse gases, come from individual homes, businesses, factories, power plants, aircraft, vehicles...and have caused the cumulative mess we now have worldwide. What is new about all this is our realization that every local form of pollution sooner or later affects every part of the globe, and that those effects are not merely predictions but are already here, changing the world where we live.
The thin layer of atmosphere coating the planet is highly vulnerable to change. We know that since certain chemicals we invented destroyed so much of the protective ozone layer that huge holes appeared, exposing life to harmful solar radiation. If I accidentally punch a hole in an old refrigerator and release Freon gas, all six billion of us plus future generations will suffer for it. If I see that an old refrigerator has the Freon captured and is properly disposed of, I have helped all six billion, plus future generations.
Likewise, if I skip an auto trip to town or buy an energy efficient light bulb or plant one tree (or stop one from being cut down), I help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect a proportion of the entire Earth. I will have helped all six billion people with my small action. This is incredible power! What power to do good do I have if I buy an energy efficient automobile? What if I help my community conserve electricity and use more renewable energy sources? What if I tell three other people what I am doing about global warming and why?
Each of us can make a difference, more than we ever realized was possible.