Here are a few everyday ways we can individually act on climate.
Although our individual actions may not achieve the drastic reduction of greenhouse gasses needed to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change, we still have power in our voices, our votes, our dollars and our actions. Changes in our behavior can have an impact on consumer demand and help promote a cleaner and greener future.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
- Vote consistently in every federal, state, and municipal election for candidates committed to taking action on climate change.
- Contact federal and state Congressional Representatives, Governors, Mayors, City Council members, and Corporate and Public Utility Commissioners to demand a climate action plan. See ECA’s state and federal letters
- Write op-eds or letters to local newspaper editors to express the urgency of climate action. See a template example here
- Talk to your family, friends and neighbors. Attend events and meetings; take action with your loved ones. Visit the RESOURCES tab above to find helpful materials for events and rallies.
SWITCH TO 100% GREEN POWER
Around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to fossil fuels used for heating, electricity, transport and industry.
- Check with your energy service provider for options from a renewable energy source or demand it from your local provider/public utility commission.
- Have an energy audit done on your home to see where you can change your energy use.
- Install a programmable or smart thermostat and LED or CFL light bulbs.
- Use energy efficient appliances when possible.
- Turn off extra lights and remove power cords from devices when not in use; use Smart Power strips.
- Use less water by installing low-flow shower heads and toilets where possible.
- Reduce water heating expenses by insulating pipes, turning down water heater temperatures and line drying your laundry.
REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
- Purchase carbon offsets when you must travel by plane. They help plant trees, fund innovation and technology, and support projects that draw down carbon in the atmosphere. [Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, and Green-e Climate Standard. ]
- Learn more about burning jet fuel here
- Get on your bike or use public transit; make your next vehicle an electric one.
- Reduce your carbon footprint by cutting back screen time on digital devices (emails, video streaming and searches) and limit the number of devices you have.
- Sharing by reducing, reusing and recycling means fewer new goods are produced. Donating unwanted items and sharing tools with neighbors saves money and carbon emissions.
- Start a sharing program in your neighborhood, like the Buy Nothing Project.
REDUCE GREENHOUSE GASES
- Help plant trees in your community and protect our forests from logging and wildfires. According to researchers at ETH University, Zurich, 900 million hectares of reforested trees could remove two-thirds of man-made CO2 emissions.
- Limiting meat and dairy products in your diet can significantly reduce greenhouse gases created by agricultural production.
- Buy seasonal produce from local farmers to reduce transportation emissions and bring along reusable produce bags to markets and stores. Download a booklet of Plant Based Recipes developed through a collaboration between ECA members and Cornell University students.
- Reusable coffee cups, food storage containers and water bottles cut down on greenhouse gases emitted by single-use plastics.
- Purchase items made with natural materials (cotton, bamboo, hemp) by checking the labels of clothing, household goods, and toys for your grandchildren.
MAKE INFORMED CHOICES
The 100 largest companies in the world are responsible for more than 70 percent of global emissions. Before you vote or purchase goods, find out who is committed to climate protection in your city, region and country. Make your choices in favor of climate action.
- Learn more about B Corporations and transparent environmental practices and ethics.
- Choose banks, asset managers, insurance companies and institutional investors that keep the climate crisis in mind. Watch this video from our friends and allies at DivestInvest
- BREAK UP WITH YOUR BANK. If you bank with Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, Bank of America, your money is being used to lend billions to the fossil fuel industry and fund climate chaos. If they won’t move their money, you can move yours. Stop the Money Pipeline offers a toolkit for breaking away. TAKE ACTION
- INVEST YOUR VALUES. Institutional investors with more than $6 Trillion in assets under management have joined a growing movement to divest from fossil fuel investments. Join that movement through the resources of As You Sow. It can be difficult to know what companies you have invested in if you own mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which may hold an ever-changing assortment of investments. As You Sow provides a free online “mutual fund screening widget” that analyzes the climate impact of thousands of U.S. mutual funds and ETFs. When you know what you own, you can realign your investments with your values. As You Sow also provides a “values lens” that enables you to screen mutual fund offerings against the specific environmental, social, and governance issues that are important to you; you can select investments that align with your values. TAKE ACTION
- BANK FOR GOOD: Align your money with your values by choosing a sustainable bank or credit union that supports social and environmental equity. Many invest in neighborhoods, schools, and local projects, so opting to support socially responsible banks makes a positive impact in your community. Find sustainable banking options here: TAKE ACTION
GET OUT AND MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
It is critical that all generations come together to take action on the climate crisis. The youth are transforming the movement and we Elders must be there to support their efforts and actions. Speak to your elected officials and members of your community about climate change and help mobilize other elders to take action with you. Collaborate with local organizations on events and push for a climate action plan in your town, city or state.
Visit the RESOURCES tab above for materials to help you at events, rallies and more.