How You Can Take Part in This Year's Climate Week, No Matter Where You AreSep 21, 2023
Climate Week has once again rolled around and citizens across the U.S. are making their voices heard in support of climate action. The resounding theme: fossil fuels cannot be a part of the future. Protests are happening throughout New York, California is set to sign a new emissions disclosure bill into law, along with a lawsuit against big oil, and the opportunity to drive change is limitless.
While these are large undertakings that will undoubtedly elevate the climate action discourse in the U.S., not all of us live in New York or California and not all of us can participate in days-long protests, so what can all of us do to participate in Climate Week this year? Regardless of time, finances, or knowledge of the issues, we have a few ideas to help you get involved.
The best place hands down to start getting involved in climate action is to learn as much as you can. Movies, books, podcasts, classes, and even free articles can help you get caught up to speed on the climate action lexicon.
Although over 15 years old, An Inconvenient Truth has been what we call a flashpoint moment for thousands of people. Our Founder, Derek Sabori, credits An Inconvenient Truth with being his flashpoint moment - the moment he knew that he wanted to dedicate his work to reversing climate change and driving climate action. The Oscar-winning documentary follows former Vice President Al Gore as he explores how greenhouse gas emissions (GHG emissions) have warmed the planet and will continue to wreak havoc unless we transition away from fossil fuels.
An Inconvenient Truth is a great place to start, but there are even more resources to expand upon your budding knowledge.
If you’re ready to kick things up a notch, check out any/all of Paul Hawken’s books. We recommend his works to all of our students who are excited to learn more about sustainability and climate action. Fair warning, all of his books can get pretty technical and nuanced, so we recommend reading these slowly but surely. Our go-to book of his is The Ecology of Commerce, focusing on the idea that ecology provides all the answers we need to create a more sustainable business environment - for all of you who are business-driven, this is a must-read. For more general climate action literature, Drawdown is a comprehensive map of solutions to reverse the effects of climate change. Keep in mind, this book is science-focused and utilizes hundreds of peer-reviewed research to build its argument, but it may not be for the faint of heart.
Ready to take things one step further? If you’re really committed to learning more about climate change, sign up for our Level 1 course. This offer includes 4 lectures on topics like the history of environmentalism, top environmental concerns, and much more. Most students that go through this course call it an eye-opening experience, saying things like “I had no idea that xyz was such a big problem!” There are what seems like an insurmountable number of problems associated with climate change, but the more you understand, the more you can do to combat it.
Change Your Habits
Climate Week can be a great excuse to challenge yourself to break your emissions-intensive habits. Even if just for a week, reducing our impacts can only help the effort to reverse climate change, and who knows, you may not go back to the old way of doing things!
Around the house, you can reduce your carbon footprint by turning off lights when not in use or unplugging appliances when you don’t need them. Bonus points if you keep your AC at or above 78 degrees Fahrenheit during summer months or at or below 68 degrees Fahrenheit during winter months. When it comes to washing your clothes, try washing on the cold setting (this will help keep your clothes in top condition too!) and only wash when you have a full load.
Changing up your weeknight meals can also help reduce your carbon footprint - instead of steak or burgers, try eating only white meat or seafood as your source of protein. If you’re really motivated, remove meat altogether and try out a vegetarian/vegan diet for the week! According to recent research, a vegan diet can lead to 75% less emissions than diets that include meat.
Still driving to the office? Check-in with your co-workers and see if there’s someone you can carpool with! Did you know carpooling can reduce emissions by 9.6 to 11.7 gigatons (2020-2050)? Plus, you’ll save a few bucks every month on your gas bill. Speaking of, if you’re in the market for a new car and can afford it, opt for a hybrid or EV to further reduce your carbon footprint.
Start A Conversation & Make Your Voice Heard
This sounds like it might be too good to be true… Can climate action really be as simple as having a conversation? We’ll put it this way - all good things start when people come together and talk.
At your next family dinner, sit down and discuss everyone’s thoughts on the issue of climate change. It may turn into a political debate, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing - sometimes we can learn a lot from people who see things differently than we do. This can be especially beneficial if you have teenagers and young adults in your family. Hearing the perspectives of the younger generation can give us insight into how we should be operating today. After all, they are going to be the next ones to inherit the planet; their voices and opinions deserve to be valued just as much as ours do.
If having a family conversation sounds anxiety-inducing, you can still express your thoughts and concerns to your elected leaders. Civic engagement takes many shapes and forms, but writing to your congressperson is one of the easiest ways to participate in community. Become aware of different climate/sustainability projects that may be happening in your community and share your support by writing a letter to your elected officials. You may even be able to vocalize your support for climate action within the community by going to local town halls or other community-based events. And, of course, easiest of all - get out and vote!
Climate action extends well beyond Climate Week, but if you’re new to this space, Climate Week is a great way to get acclimated to the movement. Try your best to do your part during Climate Week, and then expand upon that throughout the rest of the year - soon enough, you’ll be a full-blown sustainability pro!
Have a great week,
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