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 & solar power 

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)

 

Reduce food waste & eat more plants

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

 

Restore tropical forests

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%. 

 

Family planning & girls’ education

Educating girls and providing reproductive health care to women results in families that are smaller, healthier, more prosperous and more resilient. 

 

Refrigerant disposal

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.

 

Build Local Resiliency!

Create a community that can cope with climate challenges

Source: Drawdown and Minnesota GreenStep Cities’ best practices

 

Local food networks

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 

 

Locally generated renewable power

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)

 

Mobility options

Biking, walking, carpooling or taking mass transit reduces air pollution, traffic congestion and carbon emissions while increasing health, community livability and property values.

 

Social connectedness

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

 

Green infrastructure

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

 

Equity

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.