When it comes to fighting climate change, environmental lawyer Durwood Zaelke calls attention to the importance of actions that have immediate positive effects on climate change. He believes in the ‘quick fix’, the type of actions that try to solve problems as directly and efficiently as possible.
To slow climate change as best as possible, Zaelke is targeting air conditioning units. By making our cooling systems as efficient as possible, we can mitigate at least half a degree of global warming.
As told through his video narrative linked below, environmental protection became a deeply personal issue for Zaelke as an undergrad at UC Berkeley. His advice for the next generation of climate activists is to “keep your anger, keep your frustration, keep your demands high.”
Zaelke was instrumental in getting 197 parties to adopt a climate treaty in Rwanda called the Kigali Amendment. The treaty focuses on refrigeration adaptations such as eliminating HFCs which contribute to ozone depletion and global warming. While the U.S. White House has not ratified the treaty, the US industry is adopting these cooling technologies to significantly reduce their emissions. Air conditioning reform shows how small changes can have big, immediate effects on climate change.
Zaelke is ready to pass the environmental torch to the next generation, but his influence on this critical issue shows how one person can have big effects on climate protection as well.