By Kary Vannice
When we hear the word “revolution,” most of us think of people clashing with other people, fighting for opposing rights or ideologies. However, in recent decades, a new kind of revolution has emerged, one that differs in its focus and purpose. The “Green Revolution” is not about people fighting one another, but about humans combatting a common and existential threat – climate change. This revolution transcends borders and beliefs and pits humanity against the fallout of its own environmentally destructive habits.
Traditional revolutions seek to overthrow existing political systems or religious ideologies. In contrast, the Green Revolution seeks to transform values and behaviors to ensure a sustainable future. It calls for a shift from consumerism to sustainability, from short-term thinking to long-term planning, and from environmental exploitation to conservation and preservation. The transformation it promotes is not political, social, or religious, but connected to our individual and collective values.
Just as different strata of Mexican society rallied together against foreign occupiers during the Mexican Revolution, millions of people across borders, cultures, and demographics have rallied together in the common goal of combating climate change.
All revolutions have their quiet rumblings that start long before they erupt onto the world stage. The Green Revolution’s rumblings started in the mid 20th-century when books like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) began raising concerns about the impact of pesticides on the environment. Within a decade, the state of the environment became a major part of the global political conversation; the first Earth Day was held in 1970 and the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment happened in 1972.
Climate change has been a major headline grabber for the last two decades, so most of us are familiar with the public figures like Greta Thunberg, Jane Goodall, Al Gore, and Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as the most talked about climate concerns like extreme weather events, renewable energy, deforestation, carbon emissions, and rising sea levels. But, as individuals, it’s difficult to take action against such monumental concepts and global threats.
However, we each have ways in which we can contribute to change for a more sustainable future.
Consumer choices have a significant impact on environmental sustainability. People are increasingly using their purchasing power to drive change, demanding eco-friendly and ethical products. Consumer activism and ethical purchasing are all about supporting sustainable businesses, reducing single-use plastics, and opting for renewable energy sources. By making informed choices and asking companies to adopt sustainable practices, individuals play a pivotal role in the Green Revolution.
Financial institutions and investors are recognizing the value of green finance and investments in driving this environmental revolution. Financing renewable energy projects, green infrastructure, and sustainable businesses is essential for transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Green bonds, sustainability-linked loans, and impact investments are key financial instruments that can be employed to support environmentally responsible initiatives.
Green funds typically invest in companies that follow sustainable practices such as renewable energy, clean technology, conservation, and other environmentally responsible activities. By investing in green funds, individuals or institutions can align their investments with their values, contributing to both environmental and financial goals.
Shifting thinking from a “buy-use-dispose” mindset to a more circular “reduce-reuse-recycle” mindset may seem like a small contribution to a mammoth problem, but every big revolution was won because of a series of small battles. In our communities here in Mexico, as well as back home in the US and Canada, it’s generally the low-income and vulnerable communities that bear the brunt of negative environmental impacts and extreme weather events. Before disposing of an unwanted item, consider whether or not it might still have some life left in it for someone else. Donating items rather than throwing them away can extend product lifecycles, minimize environmental impact, and create a more sustainable economic future.
Participating in local, grassroots community clean-up projects like “Playas Limpias,” supporting community-run farmer’s markets, and buying local, sustainably made products can put you on the front lines of the Green Revolution.
The Green Revolution is not just about averting environmental catastrophe; it’s about preserving the planet for future generations and, like many revolutions throughout our history, is a testament to the potential for positive, collective change. The Green Revolution represents a turning point in the way humanity confronts its most significant challenges.