While the sparkle of New Year’s Eve has faded, and we are off and running well into 2020, it’s not too late for resolutions. Whether your list is long or nonexistent, consider adding another resolution to the top: raise ambition on climate solutions.
Far too many Americans are unaware of how climate change impacts us all, or, importantly, how climate solutions are personally beneficial. And, far too many of us are not even sure what to do about our changing climate, or are weary or disenfranchised. People feel alone in their climate concern, but the fact is, a majority of Americans are concerned, and concern is rising!
What can we do about climate change? It turns out, A LOT.
- At home: from the moment you wake up in the morning, to the moment you fall asleep at night, you make dozens of decisions on how you live your life. You can improve health and wellbeing for yourself and those around you, and do a lot for the climate, by using energy efficiently, purchasing sustainably, walking and biking more often, and hundreds of other choices including switching to wind or solar energy. The key is doing what you can, when you can, with an eye toward doing the most you can.
- In your community: you have a lot of sway with friends, family, your PTA, your church, your work colleagues, and your local government — more than you might realize! The kinds of things you can do at home can also be done by others and on a greater scale. Talk about what you are doing at home, the benefits it brings to your life, and encourage others to join you. Get involved in sustainability or “green team” efforts in your school, church, or workplace (or, if there isn’t one, start one, and focus on energy efficiency first since it comes with the added benefit of money savings and health improvements). Support local and regional ballot measures that increase energy efficiency, electric transportation, green infrastructure (like more parks and trees) and equitable access to wind, solar and other renewable energy. Encourage your city leaders to make the commitment to 100% clean energy. These guides for cities, houses of worship, and health institutions can help you get started.
- Nationally: who, you? Yes, you! You can make a difference nationally. Whether you want more clean energy, energy efficiency, electric cars and buses, beautiful nature, clean air, water, and land, or all of the above and more, it is very important that you voice your wishes with your U.S. congresspeople. They really do need to hear from you. And, it’s easy. Find your representatives (in the Climate for Health Moving Forward Guide, page 26), make a call or send an email, repeat. Perhaps the most important thing you can do for the climate is VOTE. Vote for ballot measures that bring about equitable climate solutions. Vote for candidates who want to bring about these solutions. Encourage others to vote. Vote regularly and often. There is so much you can do to help save the world; however, your greatest leverage is your vote.
As it stands today, climate change never sleeps. Our planet is warming at an accelerated speed. But, if we ALL raise our climate ambition in 2020, we can shift our trajectory toward an equitable, verdant and thriving world for ourselves and our children.
And, if you are interested in meeting and collaborating with others who want to do more on climate solutions at home, in their communities, and nationally, consider attending the American Climate Leadership Summit 2020 (ACLS2020), the largest gathering of leaders from around the country determined to raise #ClimateAmbition. acls2020.org
This helpful guidance is brought to you with the assistance of ecoAmerica and the Climate for Health program. This blog was originally posted on ecoAmerica’s blog which can be accessed here. The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments is a partner of Climate for Health.