How Ordinary People Are Helping Fight Climate Change: Inspiring Stories

Climate change is rapidly worsening, and government policies aren’t changing at the same pace as the world. Many individuals are taking direct and immediate action, though. Here are inspirational stories of how ordinary people are helping fight climate change right now.

Xiye Bastida: Led School Strike

Xiye Bastida was a 17-year-old student when she organized her high school’s first student climate change strike. The initial strike made a statement and gathered news attention, but this effort wasn’t just one day. 

Bastida and fellow students continue to strike on Fridays, and she travels to speak about the imminent need for action. She’s personally suffered because of her strikes. Gym is on Fridays, and she doesn’t have a high grade. Some things are more important than passing physical education, however.

Bastida showed that climate change is something many people are concerned about. When everyone is shown a practical way to make a statement, many will join the collective voice.

Kelsey Juliana: Suing the Government

Kelsey Juliana led a coalition of students who sought to effect national change. They sued the federal government, claiming that its policies violate their right to a liveable environment.

The lawsuit has taken years, and the federal government has tried to get the kids’ lawsuit dismissed multiple times. The group stood fast all the way up to the Supreme Court, which stood by them and said they could sue.

The outcome of this lawsuit is still being decided, but they pioneered legal strategies in two ways. First, they established that people can sue the government over long-term climate change problems. Second, they removed the stigma of lawsuits filed by kids.

Phil Powell: Learning What He Could Do

Phil Powell was well into his professional career when he decided to learn about climate change. He went to a protest, but found that people in that setting weren’t interested in having collaborative conversations. As a result, Phil decided to focus his energy somewhere that the conversation was more productive. But, he wasn’t well informed and didn’t have much to contribute.

Phil chose to educate himself about climate change by going back to school. He completed a bachelor’s degree in environmental science as an older adult. After graduating, he combined his newfound knowledge of climate issues with a long-held knowledge of his local area. 

In 2009, Phil co-founded Gwent Energy Community Interest Company. The company has engineered and now manufactures low-cost solar panels. These are then offered to struggling community organizations throughout South Wales, which is where Phil and the organization are based.

Because of Phil and his co-founder’s work, communities that reach 400,000 Wales residents now have solar power. They estimate that 4,000 tons of carbon emissions have been saved by bringing solar to organizations that otherwise couldn’t afford it.