How you can help

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 January, 2010, 12:00am

This will be my last column about our expedition through the Arctic and what we've learned about climate change. While this series of stories is ending, the climate change story will continue for years to come, and I want to give you some suggestions on what you can do to make a difference.

The easiest and most obvious thing to do is change your own habits. Recycle as much of your waste as you can, buy fewer things that you don't really need, and remember to use electricity wisely. Walk whenever you can, and use public transportation rather than a car. These seem like small answers to a big problem, but if everyone changes their habits, the impact will be significant.

Encourage the rest of your family to make the same kinds of changes. Ask your parents the question: 'What are you doing to help fight climate change?' If your parents are in decision-making positions at work, ask them what they are doing to make their businesses more environmentally friendly. Parents want to be good role models for their children, and your interest can be a powerful incentive for them to change their habits.

Help spread the message. Most people know about climate change, but not everyone knows what they can do to make a difference, and many people can't be bothered to speak up and say how important this is to them. This can be as easy as choosing leaders who share your concern for the environment, or asking your favourite stores or restaurants what they do. If they value you as a customer, they'll pay attention to your concerns. If you learn more about what you can do, you can share that knowledge with others. Do your research and then offer to give a talk to your school class. Write a letter to your local government leader, or to the editor of the newspaper. Join the discussion on yp.scmp.com and share your ideas with your peers.