Emma Pattee introduces a brilliantly simple but powerful metaphor for thinking about your individual impact on climate change: your “climate shadow”. More useful than just thinking about your climate footprint, your climate shadow takes into account the secondary impacts of what you do, who you vote for and what you lobby for, and forces us to consider ways of making a far bigger impact than just by changing our own individual behaviours:

“The problem with the carbon footprint is that… our footprints don’t paint an accurate picture of our true individual impact on the climate crisis. And by encouraging eco-minded people to use their carbon footprints as a ‘guide’ to fight climate change, we risk them spending all of their energy on low-impact individual actions that are easy to quantify, like recycling or turning off lights, instead of putting that energy toward broader, more meaningful work, like lobbying local politicians or speaking up at work about wasteful practices.”