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Communications Specialist

Laura Faye Tenenbaum is a science communicator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and teaches oceanography at Glendale Community College.

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We get it—the climate is changing. So what can we do about it?
(Part 1 of a 2-part series)
April 10, 2014
11:07 PDT
We get it—the climate is changing. So what can we do about it?

When confronting the issue of climate change, it helps to remember the beauty of our home planet from space.  This image from NASA's Beautiful Earth gallery shows the view over Western Australia on May 12, 2013, captured by the Landsat-8 satellite.

Readers of this blog have made quite a few thoughtful comments. To show my appreciation, I’m going to respond to a common request. Lots of people are finally understanding the complexities of the science behind climate change and are starting to face the enormity of the problem, so now they want to know about solutions, what to do about climate change.

Honestly, if I had the solution to the problem of climate change, then I would be way too busy actualizing that solution to have time left to write this blog. Also, at NASA, our focus is on gathering the latest and most accurate measurements in order to give scientists and the public the most complete picture possible of our changing planet.

What I can offer, though, is to share a two-step program I’ve come up with and use on a daily basis. These two actions alone won’t stop climate change, but they can help us to move toward a more positive impact on our environment. Also—let’s face it—climate change is a bummer.  We need something to keep us out of despair, something to help us face the challenge.

Here are the two steps I recommend to help you connect with planet Earth and stay strong while facing the reality of climate change: First, nourish your relationship with nature every day. And second, take personal responsibility for what you can control as an individual.

In honor of Earth Day (coming up April 22), I'm going to go into detail about the first step in today's blog. Check back again soon for the next installment.  

Step 1: Connect with nature

Earth Day represents a yearly reminder for all of us to make a personal connection with our planet. At NASA we’re encouraging everyone to go outside and take a #GlobalSelfie. You can find out more info here.

But you can also remember your relationship with Earth every day of the year. This might sound corny to you, but it has helped me a lot. I believe that if more people would spend just a moment every day being present with the natural world, it would make them more inclined to care for it.

You can connect with Earth each time you go outside. For just one moment, stop rushing, stop thinking, stop the internal dialogue, and see the trees, see the plants, see the sky—even if it breaks your heart, because sometimes the natural world can be sad. 

Don’t turn away from it. This is easy if you happen to live in a beautiful countryside, but even in the largest city, you can still find a tiny plant breaking its way through the concrete. Something that small can be your reminder to pause and connect.

Working at NASA, I spend much of my time looking at images of the Earth, and it’s that view from space that gives me a global perspective of our planet. It also gives me a unique sense of intimacy with our world. Just because an event occurs on the other side of the planet doesn’t mean it’s not my home. The Earth is our home. And this is exactly what you can see when you look at the view from space.

Go look at satellite images of Earth for yourself in our Beautiful Earth and Images of Change galleries (the latter is also available as an iPad app). See with your own eyes, and make your own connection. Do that every day.

Thanks for your comments and for sharing your thoughts.


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