Michael Sheldrick, February 9 2023
Leading the Fight Against Climate Change: The Importance of Conversations and Personal Action in Achieving Carbon Removal
Inspiring Hope and Empowering Action: One Man’s Journey to Lead the Charge on Climate Change and Carbon Removal
Earlier this week I published an article on Forbes.com entitled, “Leading the Charge on Climate: Carbon Removal’s Role in Achieving New Zero.” You can read the full article here.
In addition to emphasizing the significance of carbon removal, clarifying its definition, and debunking prevalent misconceptions, I also stressed the importance of conversation to catalyze climate action. No one, as I note, has made this case more powerfully than Katherine Hayhoe:
In her book, Saving Us, Katherine Hayhoe makes the powerful case of how talking about personal actions to address climate change can have a significant impact. She cites an example of a man who had a few conversations in his immediate network, which led to 12,000 subsequent conversations, resulting in his local council taking action on climate change by divesting from fossil fuels and increasing the use of renewable energy.
I observed the transformative power of conversation firsthand at the beginning of the year, when I joined Craig Cohon on the start of his six-month walking journey from London to Istanbul, known as the “Walk It Back” campaign. I outline a bit about the walk and its purpose in the article:
So, why is Cohon doing the walk? Craig explains on his website, “I have lived a very privileged white man’s carbon-polluting Boomer life.” He goes on to quantify his lifetime carbon footprint, which equates to the distance from London to Istanbul when translated from carbon tons into miles.
Cohon has certainly put his money where his mouth is. With the support of the climate technology company, Patch, Cohon has invested 1 million pounds of his own pension fund into carbon removal technologies. Nonetheless, more than one person has criticized Craig’s “Walk It Back” campaign for its perceived lack of clarity on how it will contribute to a larger scale of carbon removal. Arguably, such criticisms stem from the typical skepticism often exhibited towards advocacy efforts, which aim to impact policy decisions, rather than directly bringing about specific programmatic changes. Policy advocacy can be difficult yes, but, if it’s effective, has the potential to impact millions of people.