You don’t need to take the planet’s temperature to know it’s sick. Sweltering heat, record-bursting rains, violent doomsday storms — blaring signs of an erratic, changing climate.
Yet for all the warnings, two things remain constant: the need to reduce industrialized fossil fuel emissions and the inability of humans to act collectively in any meaningful way (at least on the necessary scale). Which is why, despite the obvious urgency, campaigns, organizers, and activists continue to draw attention to the crisis. Case in point: the International Day of Climate Action, happening October 24, which wields social channels, media, and word-of-mouth to inspire change and unite people worldwide in the struggle.
Ready to get involved? Here’s how — as well as what you need to know about the global event itself. If you haven’t participated before, why not now? After all, the planet isn’t getting any cooler.
What is the International Day of Climate Action?
Don’t wait for others — including governments and corporations — to act. Instead, we all need to acknowledge our collective role in the climate crisis. Tuesday’s International Day of Climate Action encourages people and businesses to embrace sustainable practices in their day-to-day activities.
Key facts about climate change
Considering we’ve been hearing about climate change for decades, it may be hard to imagine anyone doesn’t know what’s going on — as well as how a rising temperature can impact lands, oceans, and every life form on Earth. But it never hurts to restate scientific fact:
Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming
During the past century, the planet’s average temperature has risen by approximately 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) due to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Human practices, including burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes, have significantly increased greenhouse gas concentrations.
Since the rise of the industrial era, the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) — some of the most impactful greenhouse gases — have surged to unprecedented levels. For example, since 1970, CO2 emissions have increased by about 90%, with fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes contributing about 78% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Melting ice caps result in rising sea levels
We’ve all seen the dire images of polar bears struggling to stay afloat on melting ice sheets. But the consequences of rising ocean temperatures reach well beyond the plight of these snow-white predators and other wildlife. As they melt at such an alarming rate, the ice caps elevate sea levels, leading to catastrophic flooding, vanishing coastlines, and what’s now called “climate migration” as millions are displaced from their homes. If carbon emissions aren’t halted dramatically — and soon — scientists predict that New York City could see a six-foot sea level rise by 2100.
Climate change stirs natural disasters
Climate change means more than heat — it also means extreme weather. Hurricanes, droughts, floods, and wildfires are all signs of a climate crisis. Consider the wildfires in the western United States. The past decades have seen areas like California, Oregon, and Washington experiencing a devastating uptick in the number and intensity of wildfires. Everything from rising temperatures to long periods of drought have created conditions prone to more frequent and more significant fires. Combining the extended dry seasons and reduced moisture content in vegetation, it’s easier for fires to ignite and spread rapidly. Unfortunately, these wildfires devastate communities, wildlife, and the environment. In addition to entire communities losing their homes, the resulting smoke and air pollution pose serious health risks for residents in affected areas.
Global warming devastates ecosystems
Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns disrupt ecosystems, leading to shifts in plant and animal habitats. This can result in the endangerment and even extinction of thousands of species. For example, coral reefs are extremely susceptible to changes in water temperature. When sea temperatures warm, corals undergo a process known as bleaching. During this time corals expel the colorful algae living within their tissues, causing them to turn white. While corals can usually recover from mild bleaching events if conditions improve, severe or prolonged bleaching can kill them — resulting in a cascading effect on the entire reef ecosystem.
Corals provide essential habitats and nurseries for a wide range of marine species. Without healthy corals, many fish, crustaceans, and other organisms lose their homes and breeding grounds. This disrupts the food chain and can lead to declines in fish populations that local communities rely on for food. So, it’s not just a marine life problem — it matters to land communities as well.
Ways to Participate in International Day of Climate Action
So yes, the situation is grim. But hope and opportunity remain — especially if you’re eager to participate in this year’s International Day of Climate Action. Small gestures, everyday acts — all of it counts. Here are some of the best ways to show your support:
Advocate for policy change
Your voice matters, so use it to advocate for change. Engage with local, national, and international policymakers to advocate for policies prioritizing climate action over profit. Whether it’s supporting legislation to protect biodiverse land or stricter rules for pollution-prone factories, you have the power to make a stand for a better world. So, support climate action initiatives that matter most to you.
Reduce your carbon footprint
While the biggest difference is made when governments and businesses do better, every effort helps the cause. Make conscious choices to reduce your carbon emissions. This can include using public transportation, carpooling, adopting energy-efficient practices at home, reducing meat consumption, and saying no to single-use plastic.
Even something as simple as how you clean your household can make a difference. SaltyLama’s laundry detergent sheets are plant-based and hypoallergenic — making them an ideal eco-friendly alternative to regular detergent. And since our sheets are lighter and slimmer than heavy plastic jugs filled with liquid chemicals, they’re easier to transport — meaning less weight to ship, fewer emissions, and reduced fuel consumption.
Support renewable energy
Advocate for and invest in renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower. Transitioning to clean energy is a crucial step in combating climate change. Cleaner energy reduces greenhouse gases, mitigates air pollution, and reduces the risk of environmental disasters like oil spills and contaminated water.
Get involved in your community
There is likely an eco-friendly initiative you can take part in within your community — whether it's tree planting, beach clean-ups, community gardens, or waste reduction programs. Choose what you’re most passionate about!
Inspire others to act
Change happens when we all work together toward something greater. Share facts about climate change and its impact with friends, family, colleagues, and social media followers. Your insight can inspire others to act, and then they may inspire others. Who knows where — or with who — that may lead?