Magazine edition: 2021-1

Article title:

The power of individual action

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The power of individual action

According to the Carbon Disclosure Project, just 100 companies account for over 70% of global emissions. So is personal action really worth it? Is it fair?

Absolutely. As citizens, we have the power to reduce our own carbon footprint. If millions of people did the same, it could reduce global emissions by as much as a fifth. And our power does not end there. What we do – or don’t do – can drive wider change by influencing the decisions of business and political leaders. We buy from those companies. We vote for those politicians. Our lifestyle choices matter to them.

Whether it’s swapping petrol cars for clean alternatives, cutting back on meat or eating local produce, when we take action in our own lives, we aren’t just reducing our personal emissions. We’re signalling to markets and businesses that we care about shifting to zero-carbon transport and to affordable and sustainable farming.

By taking action together, we can pressure those in power to deliver bolder solutions.

In many areas, thanks to brilliant technologies and the support of governments, progress towards a cleaner future has already been made. But it needs to be accelerated – and we can make this happen. Take transport. In 2016, the International Energy Agency predicted an end to petrol engines by the 2070s. Now, based on consumer and industry trends, it is likely to happen in 2040. Last year, electric vehicle sales surged by 43% (vs 6% in 2019) and availability of charging improved by 89% globally. Technology gets things started but “we the people” make them commonplace.

That is the force behind the growing global movement Count Us In, a community of people and organisations taking practical action on climate change. We offer people everywhere the chance to choose from 16 high-impact, practical steps – ranging from cutting food waste, to switching your energy and walking and cycling more – that they can take in their own lives to reduce their carbon pollution and challenge leaders to act more boldly.

In the spirit of adding up to something bigger, Count Us In has set up an aggregator that counts the steps taken by every person and the resulting carbon reductions. It also links to an ecosystem of partner platforms, combining and synthesising their data to show the collective impact of citizen climate action worldwide. This quantitative visualisation is a testament to individual action, showing that seemingly small lifestyle choices matter and can lead to action by policymakers, businesses and others.

The climate emergency is here, now, and it affects us all.

And so, we must all do our part. Whatever your choice, by committing to take a step in your own life via Count Us In, you’ll be joining a global movement that is helping to drive the individual and the systemic solutions required to protect what we love from climate change before it’s too late. Joining is simple:

  1. Commit to taking a step that works for you at – you’ll see the impact of your individual actions.
  2. Keep it up and let us know how you get on – your effort will be counted as part of the Count Us In movement.
  3. Bring your friends, family and others along – climate action is more fun and more impactful when we use it as a multiplying force!

Can we count you in?

Count Us In aims to mobilise a billion people over the next decade to take practical steps that, when aggregated, will make a significant impact in reducing carbon pollution and challenge leaders to act boldly to deliver global systems change.