‘Being the Change’ by Peter Kalmus

There’s no clear separation between individual and collective change. Individual change is a tool to spark collective change.

Peter Kalmus, author

As I’ve said previously, climate change is a massively complex problem that we’re not just going to compost our way out of together. The majority of the change required to put a halt to it won’t happen at the individual level. BUT! That doesn’t mean we can’t each put as much effort into the cause as we can.

Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution is a book written by Peter Kalmus, an atmospheric/climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labratory. It’s all about what any one person can practically do to reduce their carbon footprint and transition to a low-energy, low-emission lifestyle — all without trying to guilt you about it:

Being the Change explores the connections between our individual daily actions and our collective predicament. It merges science, spirituality, and practical action to develop a satisfying and appropriate response to global warming.

Part one exposes our interconnected predicament: overpopulation, global warming, industrial agriculture, growth-addicted economics, a sold-out political system, and a mindset of separation from nature. It also includes a readable but authoritative overview of climate science. Part two offers a response at once obvious and unprecedented: mindfully opting out of this broken system and aligning our daily lives with the biosphere.

The core message is deeply optimistic: living without fossil fuels is not only possible, it can be better.

The kinds of simple life changes he recommends involve growing your own food, using a bike instead of driving, using solar-heated water, drying clothes on a clothesline instead of in a machine, and more.

If you’ve ever wished you had a climate scientist living next door so you can outright ask, “WHAT DO I DO?”, this book is the next best thing. It’s even been made into a well-received documentary (also available in DVD form), which makes for great supplemental material to the book itself.

Get the book in these formats: