You can make a difference. You have a part to play. Unless we address the climate crisis together, with everyone in society doing their bit, then extreme weather events of the sort we’ve seen in 2021 – including devastating floods, droughts, and heatwaves – will grow more frequent and intense.

Yes, that means big governments and multinationals have a lot to do. But ordinary people also have collective power: as voters, as campaigners, as active citizens, and as responsible consumers (voting with wallets), your decisions can put pressure on states and companies and can make a difference.

Want to learn more about how individual actions might collectively help us fight climate change? Check out our infographic below (click for a bigger version):

What is the EU doing? The European Commission has just adopted its ‘Fit for 55’ package, aiming to reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by the year 2030, relative to 1990 levels. This will be done through a combination of making existing commitments more ambitious and by introducing new measures, such as a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), a commitment to plant 3 billion trees, a tax on aviation fuel, and completely ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035.

These are all positive steps, yet they won’t be enough without the active support of citizens. In 2021, Debating Europe has been holding focus groups, citizens’ panels, and workshops with citizens from across the EU, and many have told us they feel powerless or guilty in the face of climate change.

For example, Benedikt from Germany told us:

Image of a citizen“It’s great if people are doing a lot of little things [to live more sustainably], but if we then have still shipping industries polluting oceans and so on there’s not really a point to it, and a lot of people feel powerless compared to big corporations.”

While Mariana from Slovenia said:

Image of a citizen“Sometimes I’m like: you know what, there are some huge companies that do so much worse. I’m going to unclog these drain with this product that I don’t know if it’s bad for the fish or whatever, but I need to unclog my drain. But then I have this guilt… [Or] I love long showers but I don’t take them anymore. Then I feel today I’m so tired I deserve a longer shower, but there is this feeling, sometimes, that I’m more part of the problem than part of the solution.”

In response, we’re launching a series of debates looking at how individuals can contribute to help stop climate change. This debate series will run as part of the European Climate Pact, an EU-wide initiative inviting people, communities and organisations to participate in climate action and build a greener Europe. We will invite scientists, campaigners, activists, European Climate Pact Ambassadors, mayors, politicians and others to take part in our debates and discuss how we can all make a difference.

Should Benedikt feel powerless? Should Mariana feel guilty? To tackle these feelings head-on, we spoke to two young European Climate Pact Ambassadors, both active in campaigning to protect the climate: Monika Skadborg from Denmark and Beniamin Strzelecki from Poland. Here’s what they had to say to Benedikt and Mariana:

Do you want to get involved? Sign up to the European Climate Pact and pledge to take practical steps to help reduce carbon pollution on our planet.

What do YOU think? What would you say to people who feel powerless compared to big corporations? How can we empower citizens in the fight against climate change? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Photo by Paddy O Sullivan on Unsplash
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39 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    EU Reform Proactive

    “You can make a difference. You have a part to play.”
    Ok, besides great rhetorical words, what is closer to reality?

    As a consequence- who are those thinkers who demand from others to blindly & abruptly risk their businesses, employment or even collapse or partial collapse their own small, national and world connected economy? Crazy!

    The (global) economy is geared to supply the varied demands of everyone in every country on this earth. Except those living exclusively in a jungle, on their own independent luxury island or cloud cuckoo land- disconnected from the rest.

    Does that exclude all these emotional juvenile climate protesters, the thousands of international, supranational institutions, politicians & global corporations?

    Let’s listen to the point made by an outspoken Allen Jones from Sky News Australia:

    Now- let us also be reminded and ask how “simple, cheap & frugal” the EU with seats in Brussels & Strasbourg or the global UN is. “How does the EU work?
    “CNBC Explains”:

    Practical example:
    switching your personal family power supply from the conventional network to an independent solar source would require (me at this moment) an instant upfront cost of approximately 15-20 years in equivalent in buying “prepaid” electricity. Dependent on locality & the availability of full sun (no shade/rain) for 6-8 hours/day/364 days.

    Elon Musk’s Giga Berlin- – has merits.

    2 EU seats have no merits! Please think & show universal leadership!

  2. avatar
    catherine benning

    Do you have the power to stop climate change?

    Are you asking us to do what the EU political brace is afraid to tackle? Unless you are willing to take down those who are deliberately stealing our civilisation, as we sit paralysed by adoration of greed? Face reality and stop investing in that which you pretend you despise.

    Climate change is a direct result of over population of the planet. It is the sole reason we are in the middle of nature taking measures to rid this planet of our destructive presence. The way it was impelled to end the Dinosaur period.

    • avatar
      Dejolier Nicole

      I completely agree with you.

  3. avatar

    Best we can do is more nuclear energy, hopefully politicians and the EU understand that before it is too late….

    • avatar
      Nicole Dejolier

      Quite True.

  4. avatar

    Donc elle ouvrira seulement aux non vaccinés ” ” ” ” ” ”

  5. avatar

    de klimaathoax dient enkel om nog meer taksen te kunnen heffen op fictieve oorzaken van het klimaat dat verandert – de mens is nog minder dan o,oo1% “verantwoordelijk” voor CO2 uitstoot, wel voor vervuiling door gemakzucht, verandering begint bij ons gedrag

  6. avatar

    Stop burning fossile fuels to provide electricity for cars while nuclear energy is clean energy. Gang of fools.

  7. avatar

    De Green Deal heeft niets te maken met oplossing van het klimaatprobleem, maar met oplossing van het probleem van de enorme kapitaalaccumulatie. Het klimaat wordt gewoon misbruikt om ons deze industriële transitie door de strot te duwen.

    • avatar

      En ondertussen krijgen we vervuilende centrales op ons kap ter vervanging van kerncentrales.

  8. avatar

    By 2050 most of us will already have perished from the consequences of climate change.
    Let’s try to make it faster, no?

  9. avatar


  10. avatar

    Arrêtez votre baratin et votre endoctrinement … et ce dans toutes les langues … Vous n’êtes qu’une bande de manipulateurs !

  11. avatar

    Climate change covid you use the fear to control European peoples. Stop EU dictatorship

  12. avatar

    Yeah, as long as it’s not just me. But through voting, campaigning, consumer boycotts? Collectively, people can help hold politicians and companies to account.

  13. avatar

    Climate change will happen..mitigatiom requires learning how to deal with it

  14. avatar

    Je suis émue : la croyance au Père Noël perdure. Comme c’est beau ! Garder son âme d’enfant est tellement réconfortant !

  15. avatar

    Of course not. The EU “Green Deal” is not ‘green’, and it is definitedly no ‘deal’.

  16. avatar

    No. There are no measures, only concern for money

  17. avatar

    Iedereen,moet de kracht hebben,en het doen x

  18. avatar
    Hilde Willems

    Als IEDEREEN alleen energie verbruikt voor noodzakelijke doeleinden zijn we al een eind verder. Lockdown van energie.

    • avatar
      J. Konyn

      Je betoog gaat regelrecht in tegen het heilige dogma dat er alleen vooruitgang is als er economische groei is. Dat zo’n vooruitgang ons met steeds grotere vaart naar de onvermijdelijke afgrond jaagt mag dan stilaan voor velen duidelijk zijn, wie bij die groei belang heeft krijg je niet mee, want die vreest verlies. Dat we straks allemaal alles kwijt zijn is voor hen een geldig alternatief. Succes met je/mijn/ons betoog, Hilde!

  19. avatar

    An eco friendly life style starts at home. The EU and its many employees could give the good example by no longer using their fleet of car and large number of flights, but using the bicycle. Once they do that they can start with demonising the private cars and travels of hard working people.

  20. avatar

    Of course not.. Main polluters are usa China India brasil… Countries with whom you develop free trade agreements

  21. avatar

    Russian military exercises have already polluted the atmosphere and put the world in a huge nuclear threat. This must stop once and forever! Climate activists must take a principled stand on this issue.

  22. avatar

    Stop all these people hiring private jets to fly to climate conferences. Stay at home. You can contribute via zoom!

  23. avatar

    We all have to do what we can…

  24. avatar
    JT HK

    To stop climate change without US cooperation, effort would be futile. Even worse, Europe is turning a blind eye to such reality.

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