“Make a plan for what you’ll do [about climate change]. Give it words, numbers, days of the week. Allow your friends and families to witness it,” novelist Jonathan Safran Foer advised the audience at Mashable’s 10th annual Social Good Summit on Sept. 22.
This year’s Summit focused on discussing solutions to climate change, and Foer shared his own plan to fight climate change on an individual level.
“My plan — eat vegan for breakfast and lunch, vegetarian for dinner, don’t fly for leisure in 2020, three cab rides a week maximum,” Foer said.
He also gave out his personal email address and invited the audience to send him more suggestions.
In his second non-fiction book, We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, Foer challenges everyone to eat vegan for the first two meals of the day — all in an effort to fight against climate change.
He also acknowledged it is easy to feel defeated when faced with the sheer magnitude of the problem.
“The scale of the crisis is enough to make any effort feel futile. It’s enough to make every effort feel necessary, as if those were the only two choices — make no effort or every effort,” Foer said.
Foer was inspired to create a plan to reduce his carbon footprint during one of his book signings.
An engaged couple asked Foer to autograph their copy of his book. The title page, usually reserved for an author’s signature, was filled with a plan for how they planned to live a sustainable life together. The couple had committed to avoiding meat, except when invited out for dinner, and only birthing two children.
“It hadn’t occurred to me until I saw their plan that despite my knowledge and feelings about climate change, despite the statistics that I could fire off at dinner parties … I didn’t have a plan for how I was going to participate,” Foer said.
He urged everyone to come up with their own plan.
“Each of us needs to have a plan that not only reflects our values but our full ability to respond to this crisis. We need to write down our plans and share them with our family and friends,” Foer said.
He admitted it was easy for him to adjust his diet but much harder to fly less.
“We don’t need to all reach precisely the same conclusions. The differences between our plans will be even more inspiring than the overlaps,” Foer said. “What if we stepped into the vast space between doing everything and doing nothing and just started doing something.”