by Marisa Keller, member of 350 Brattleboro and 350VT’s Writers for Climate Justice
Promote Global Solutions!
Top climate solutions and how you can help
Source: Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming; see more solutions at drawdown.org
Wind and solar power provide clean, renewable energy that is cost-competitive with fossil fuels, especially when you factor in the cost of pollution, health impacts and hundred-billion-dollar government fossil-fuel subsidies.
- Ask your local and federal legislators to end subsidies for fossil fuels and create renewable energy initiatives.
- Support wind and solar projects; correct misinformation about wind turbines (new models address concerns such as danger to birds and bats)
Livestock produce one-fifth or more of global greenhouse gases and often graze on deforested land (see below). Meanwhile, a third of the food produced on Earth is wasted, along with the land, labor and fuel that went into its production and distribution.
- Eat a plant-focused diet
- Buy meat only from farms that use sustainable practices and encourage others (including businesses and organizations) to do the same
- Donate to Salvation Farms or volunteer for the VT Foodbank Gleaning Program
Tropical forests have high carbon sequestration capacities, but deforestation (like the current burning in the Amazon) has reduced tropical forestland from 12% of Earth’s landmass to 5%.
- Donate to the Global Restoration Initiative or Conservation International
- Buy Forest Stewardship Council-certified products and encourage others (including businesses and organizations) to do so as well.
- Use Ecosia.org, the search engine that plants trees
Educating girls and providing reproductive health care to women results in families that are smaller, healthier, more prosperous and more resilient.
- Ask your US legislators to increase international aid for family planning and girls’ education
- Donate to the Malala Fund, Population Media Center, or Planned Parenthood
The hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in fridges, supermarket cases and air conditioners have thousands of times the global warming potential (GWP) of carbon dioxide. Emissions can be avoided by recycling or chemically transforming HFCs during disposal.
- Advocate for increased regulation of refrigerants
- Buy low GWP appliances
- Use EPA-certified Responsible Appliance Disposal programs
Build Local Resiliency!
Create a community that can cope with climate challenges
Source: Drawdown and Minnesota GreenStep Cities’ best practices
Producing food locally creates jobs, keeps money in the community, and minimizes carbon emissions from transport and storage. Small local farms often use regenerative (carbon-sequestering) practices.
- Buy local food whenever possible and encourage others (including businesses and organizations) to do the same
- Donate to NOFA-VT’s Farm Share Program
Producing renewable energy locally keeps money local, provides a buffer against grid outages, and eliminates the carbon emissions, pollution, health impacts and price fluctuations of fossil-fuel-generated power.
- Advocate for renewable energy projects and infrastructure upgrades
- Install solar panels, a heat pump, or a battery (assistance and rebates available from multiple sources)
Biking, walking, carpooling or taking mass transit reduces air pollution, traffic congestion and carbon emissions while increasing health, community livability and property values.
- Advocate for bike- and pedestrian-friendly streets and more public transit
- Walk, bike, carpool and take public transit
- Get a free e-bike/cargo bike consultation from VBike
- Volunteer with Local Motion
Strong social networks reduce hardship and poverty and increase overall physical, mental and economic well-being in the community.
- Join a community group or volunteer as a community mentor for a child
- Share tools, garden space or cars with your neighbors
Impervious surfaces like roofs and pavement dramatically bump up summer temperatures and increase stormwater and pollution runoff issues. Rain gardens, trees and green roofs absorb sunlight and rain, filter out air and water pollution, and mitigate flooding.
- Advocate for green infrastructure and related projects like solar-panel canopies for parking lots
- Plant trees
- Let your lawn grow to at least 3 inches before mowing to increase absorbency
- Install rain barrels and gather water to use in your garden on dry days
Environmental degradation and human degradation are two sides of the same coin. To address climate change, we must change the systems that exploit both ecosystems and people for the benefit of a few.
- Advocate for people-oriented systems rather than growth- and profit-oriented systems
- Donate/volunteer: Black Lives Matter, Earth Guardians, Extinction Rebellion, Indigenous Environmental Network, Migrant Justice, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Vermont Workers’ Center, Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform,