How You Can Help The Climate

Things You Can Do At Home

Even small actions can add up over days, weeks, months, and years! Just get started in any way you can.

Your Food
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Your Food

Food accounts for 30% of an average family’s carbon footprint. This includes the costs of growing, harvesting, processing, transporting, and storing the food. Reduce your impact with these ideas.  As an added benefit, you’ll likely have a more nutritious, flavorful and healthy diet too!

        ▢  Buy locally produced food.

        ▢  Make vegetable-based dishes a larger part of your daily food intake.

        ▢  Enjoy meatless Monday meals.  Reducing red meat consumption does make a difference.

        ▢  Eat sustainable seafood. Seafood Watch can help you decide which fish to choose for your next meal.

        ▢  Choose organic products, if possible.

        ▢  Opt for reusable or biodegradable food storage items to store food and avoid single use products like foil or plastic wrap.

        ▢  Use reusable shopping bags.  Keep bags in your car or near your keys, so you don’t forget when going on errands.

Food accounts for 30% of an average family’s carbon footprint. This includes the costs of growing, harvesting, processing, transporting, and storing the food. Reduce your impact with these ideas.  As an added benefit, you’ll likely have a more nutritious, flavorful and healthy diet too!

        ▢  Buy locally produced food.

        ▢  Make vegetable-based dishes a larger part of your daily food intake.

        ▢  Enjoy meatless Monday meals.  Reducing red meat consumption does make a difference.

        ▢  Eat sustainable seafood. Seafood Watch can help you decide which fish to choose for your next meal.

        ▢  Choose organic products, if possible.

        ▢  Opt for reusable or biodegradable food storage items to store food and avoid single use products like foil or plastic wrap.

        ▢  Use reusable shopping bags.  Keep bags in your car or near your keys, so you don’t forget when going on errands.

Your Travel and Transportation
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Your Travel and Transportation

Transportation is responsible for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

        ▢ Plan your errands together to minimize your trips. Save time and money while reducing transportation costs and emissions.

        ▢ Consider walking or biking rather than driving. It’s a great way to exercise, too!

        ▢ Carpooling or mass-transit options give you a low stress way to commute.

        ▢ Take turns sharing errands with family and friends.  Save time, save gas, plus you can buy in bulk and share the savings too!

        ▢ Avoid a long distance errand for something you can purchase nearby.  Very often the $$ saved will be offset by gas and wear/tear on your vehicle.

        ▢ Mile for mile, flying is the most damaging way to travel. While it is wonderful to whisk away on vacation, take a moment to read this BBC article and browse the impacts of air travel before booking your next trip. 



Transportation is responsible for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

        ▢ Plan your errands together to minimize your trips. Save time and money while reducing transportation costs and emissions.

        ▢ Consider walking or biking rather than driving. It’s a great way to exercise, too!

        ▢ Carpooling or mass-transit options give you a low stress way to commute.

        ▢ Take turns sharing errands with family and friends.  Save time, save gas, plus you can buy in bulk and share the savings too!

        ▢ Avoid a long distance errand for something you can purchase nearby.  Very often the $$ saved will be offset by gas and wear/tear on your vehicle.

        ▢ Mile for mile, flying is the most damaging way to travel. While it is wonderful to whisk away on vacation, take a moment to read this BBC article and browse the impacts of air travel before booking your next trip. 


Your Energy
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Your Energy

Most household carbon emissions are attributed to heating, cooling, and hot water consumption.

        ▢  Be energy conscious – turn off lights, put computers to sleep, turn the thermostat down or off when leaving for 30 minutes or more.

        ▢  Replace light bulbs with energy efficient LEDs. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and half as much as compact fluorescents. 

        ▢  Close blinds and curtains on hot or cold days to reduce drafts or solar heating.

        ▢  Lower your hot water heater settingExperts recommend a target temperature close to 120°.

        ▢  Most clothing can be cold-water washed. Cold water washing even one load can reduce up to 70 lbs of carbon emissions! Line dry when possible.

        ▢  Be vigilant. Remember anytime hot water is running, not only are you consuming water, but you are consuming energy to heat the water.



Most household carbon emissions are attributed to heating, cooling, and hot water consumption.

        ▢  Be energy conscious – turn off lights, put computers to sleep, turn the thermostat down or off when leaving for 30 minutes or more.

        ▢  Replace light bulbs with energy efficient LEDs. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and half as much as compact fluorescents. 

        ▢  Close blinds and curtains on hot or cold days to reduce drafts or solar heating.

        ▢  Lower your hot water heater settingExperts recommend a target temperature close to 120°.

        ▢  Most clothing can be cold-water washed. Cold water washing even one load can reduce up to 70 lbs of carbon emissions! Line dry when possible.

        ▢  Be vigilant. Remember anytime hot water is running, not only are you consuming water, but you are consuming energy to heat the water.



Your Consumption
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Your Consumption

Everything you buy has a carbon footprint. Unless you are buying locally produced goods, purchased items were manufactured and shipped, likely multiple times.

 

Vote with your wallet!  Using your power as a consumer will make companies/corporations/suppliers take notice that their product(s) are not what the consumer wants and they will make changes.

        ▢ Eliminate as many “single use” products as you can. This can be overwhelming – so start with one or two. Single use products require more packaging, more shipping space, and are also more expensive.

        ▢ Buy used items rather than new. You may be surprised by the quality items available at thrift stores or at neighborhood for-sale and give-away groups!

        ▢ Make a purchasing policy for yourself to help reframe wants vs needs. For example, before purchasing something, ask yourself “if this item was lost/stolen/broken, would I buy it again”? Self-impose a wait period for purchases over a certain dollar amount.



Everything you buy has a carbon footprint. Unless you are buying locally produced goods, purchased items were manufactured and shipped, likely multiple times.

 

Vote with your wallet!  Using your power as a consumer will make companies/corporations/suppliers take notice that their product(s) are not what the consumer wants and they will make changes.

        ▢ Eliminate as many “single use” products as you can. This can be overwhelming – so start with one or two. Single use products require more packaging, more shipping space, and are also more expensive.

        ▢ Buy used items rather than new. You may be surprised by the quality items available at thrift stores or at neighborhood for-sale and give-away groups!

        ▢ Make a purchasing policy for yourself to help reframe wants vs needs. For example, before purchasing something, ask yourself “if this item was lost/stolen/broken, would I buy it again”? Self-impose a wait period for purchases over a certain dollar amount.



Ways to Get Involved

Individual actions are important to mitigate climate change, but we need everyone to contribute – companies, governments, politicians, friends, family, and neighbors. Here are some ways to spread the word and make your voice heard.

Actively Participate in Your HOA
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Actively Participate in Your HOA

Homeowners Associations often enforce dated policies that negatively impact the climate. Become active in your HOA to help steer bylaws and policies to permit climate-friendly (and biodiversity-friendly) actions.

  • As of October 2021 and due to one homeowner fighting back, HOA’s in Maryland can no longer force residents to have lawns.  
  • Many states have passed legislation promoting the health of pollinators, including bees, wasps, butterflies and bats.  
  • Some states have also curbed the authority of HOA edicts during droughts. 
  • Individual voices can and do make a difference and you can too.  

 



Homeowners Associations often enforce dated policies that negatively impact the climate. Become active in your HOA to help steer bylaws and policies to permit climate-friendly (and biodiversity-friendly) actions.

  • As of October 2021 and due to one homeowner fighting back, HOA’s in Maryland can no longer force residents to have lawns.  
  • Many states have passed legislation promoting the health of pollinators, including bees, wasps, butterflies and bats.  
  • Some states have also curbed the authority of HOA edicts during droughts. 
  • Individual voices can and do make a difference and you can too.  

 



Proactively Contact Your Politicians
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Proactively Contact Your Politicians

Climate is impacted by decisions at all levels of government – city, county, state/province, and federal. Proactively contact your representatives, from city council to mayor to governor to federal congress representatives, and tell them that climate is important to you, and that you vote accordingly

  • Yes, there are a lot of representatives to contact, so if you can’t do it all, make a plan to contact 1 or 2 a week, and schedule it.
  • Common Cause makes finding your elected politicians easy.

Climate is impacted by decisions at all levels of government – city, county, state/province, and federal. Proactively contact your representatives, from city council to mayor to governor to federal congress representatives, and tell them that climate is important to you, and that you vote accordingly

  • Yes, there are a lot of representatives to contact, so if you can’t do it all, make a plan to contact 1 or 2 a week, and schedule it.
  • Common Cause makes finding your elected politicians easy.

Stay Informed About Legislation and Get Involved
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Stay Informed About Legislation and Get Involved

Staying informed can take many forms. It may mean joining a local climate advocacy email list, or keeping up to date with city council agendas. 

  • When climate related proposals arise, contact your representatives and make your voice heard. An email may be enough.  You can also pay a visit to your city council meeting.
  • Remember, challenging policies and decisions can result in change, even little ones that will add up.

Staying informed can take many forms. It may mean joining a local climate advocacy email list, or keeping up to date with city council agendas. 

  • When climate related proposals arise, contact your representatives and make your voice heard. An email may be enough.  You can also pay a visit to your city council meeting.
  • Remember, challenging policies and decisions can result in change, even little ones that will add up.

Where to Learn More

The climate, climate change, and ways we can help can be complex, interesting, and challenging. Here are some places where you can learn more.

Follow Climate Oriented Organizations
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Follow Climate Oriented Organizations

The number of climate and environmentally focussed groups has grown rapidly.  Take a moment and check out these two to begin your journey:

  • Project Drawdown provides excellent “big picture” perspective backed by sound science and data. Check out the website and sign up for the newsletter.
  • The Society for Environmental Journalists offers a list of climate news sources from a variety of organizations and perspectives.  Make a habit of reading one article per day/week.

The number of climate and environmentally focussed groups has grown rapidly.  Take a moment and check out these two to begin your journey:

  • Project Drawdown provides excellent “big picture” perspective backed by sound science and data. Check out the website and sign up for the newsletter.
  • The Society for Environmental Journalists offers a list of climate news sources from a variety of organizations and perspectives.  Make a habit of reading one article per day/week.

Educate Yourself on Climate Change and Climate Science
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Educate Yourself on Climate Change and Climate Science

There is a wealth of information out there as well as plenty of disinformation about climate change and how individuals can make a difference.  Here are some vetted, respected resources to get you started:

  • Harvard University offers a free online course, Energy Within Environmental Constraints, which covers the environmental and economic trade-offs and impacts of energy systems, production, and use.
  • The United Nations Climate Change Learning Partnership offers many online courses covering a wide range of topics, from policy to climate science to sustainable diets and much more. Devote an hour or two on a topic that you are passionate about.
  • In California, consider enrolling in the acclaimed UC Climate Stewards course, offered through numerous community organizations.

There is a wealth of information out there as well as plenty of disinformation about climate change and how individuals can make a difference.  Here are some vetted, respected resources to get you started:

  • Harvard University offers a free online course, Energy Within Environmental Constraints, which covers the environmental and economic trade-offs and impacts of energy systems, production, and use.
  • The United Nations Climate Change Learning Partnership offers many online courses covering a wide range of topics, from policy to climate science to sustainable diets and much more. Devote an hour or two on a topic that you are passionate about.
  • In California, consider enrolling in the acclaimed UC Climate Stewards course, offered through numerous community organizations.