My awareness of climate breakdown reached the point where I had no choice but to respond in some meaningful way...
Climate breakdwown is intertwined deeply with our lives, physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. I asked myself, how can we respond, as individuals? What can we do right here, right now, with what we have? How can we live happy and fulfilling lives even as our planet heats up?
I am a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. I use satellite data and models to study the rapidly changing Earth, focusing on extreme heat and human health, ecosystem breakdown, and severe weather. I have a PhD in physics from Columbia University and a BA in physics from Harvard.
I feel I need to do everything I can to shift society toward climate emergency mode. I’ve tried a lot of different forms of activism, but civil disobedience has been by far the most effective, in my experience. Shifting social norms quickly requires taking risks! Now is the time to become an activist and take some risks. I’ve yet to meet a climate activist who regrets it.
Activism is my primary response, but because fossil fuels cause global heating, another part of my response is to avoid burning it! Today I emit under 2 tonnes of CO2 per year, one tenth of the U.S. average. In reducing my footprint, I have discovered this to be surprisingly satisfying and empowering. I also work within my community to help neighbors, cities, schools, and churches use less fossil fuel. Meditating and growing food helps me stay centered and happy even in the face of dire climate projections. My award-winning book, Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution gives real life solutions to move away from a consumerist lifestyle that isn’t even making us happy.
Changing our lives shifts the culture and creates space for collective action. Together, let’s explore a more meaningful life – without all the fossil fuel!
Global warming poses a clear, present, and dire danger for humanity. In an era of obvious climate change, I believe that it’s important to align our daily life choices with that reality and actions speak louder than words.
That is why I founded No Fly Climate Sci. A place where anyone can commit to flying as little as possible while pushing for systemic change, especially through home institutions.
Together, we hope that our openness about flying less helps to change flying culture, gradually reducing the professional handicap for those of us who choose to align our personal actions with our knowledge of global warming. We urge academic institutions to realize their responsibility to be role models in an age of obvious global warming, and therefore to adopt policies and strategies for flying less.
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Peter Kalmus, Climate Scientist and Author.
On this site, I speak on my own behalf, not on behalf of NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or the California Institute of Technology.