“Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the defining moment to do something about it.” UN.org

Yesterday, millions of activists called for climate action by joining youth-led demonstrations in cities and towns across the world. Students skipped school. Businesses closed. Websites went dark.

Sheridan went about business as usual.

No snark intended: I followed my usual Friday routine to a T, soaking up the beautiful almost-fall weather in our sweet small-town bubble. But of course, while we did not rally together to insist on change, climate change is happening. Its effects are felt in Wyoming, the U.S. and across the planet.

I admire Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swede who has been making waves in the climate action world.

“I don’t want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists,” she said to Congress on Wednesday, referring them to the United Nations’ recent 30-year report on global warming.

Because the scientific consensus is that simple: Our planet is getting warmer at an unnatural rate. This drastic change is affecting the climate and weather patterns, human life and prosperity, natural habitats for animals and more. Conditions will only become more severe.

I get why people insist that climate change is not real. I wish it were a hoax. The more you learn, the sadder and scarier — and more helpless — the crisis seems. The American Psychological Association has actually created a guide to help therapists work with patients with climate change anxiety.

We are allowed to be anxious, but reason disallows denial. We must act, while we still have time. The world’s leaders are gathering for the UN’s emergency climate summit in New York on Monday. The next Global Climate Strike will be Sept. 27. Even in our bubble, we can join the call for action.

The first step: Admit we have a problem. Research the science, and really consider the source of the information. Continue the conversation with your friends and family. No need to be alarmist — though it is alarming— but open a dialogue.

Second: Make changes in our personal lives. UN.org offers a list of simple ways to reduce our carbon footprints. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Bike or walk to work. Take shorter showers. Eat less meat. Don’t leave the lights on.

But really, as individuals, the most important step we can take is to send a message to the leaders in government and business. Major corporations that contribute greenhouse gas emissions are the biggest culprits. Contact our representatives. Demand action.