Climate Action

People think that if they change their light bulbs, or if they buy a car that gets 32 miles-per-gallon, that they’re contributing to the solution of the problem. But that’s not going to stop climate change. We need a revolution. -Producer Marshall Herskovitz

Public, corporate and personal decisions influence northeast Ohio’s role in producing/reducing greenhouse gases and adapting to climate disruption. Many organizations are working towards finding innovate solutions to help the region adapt to climate change and there are steps you as an individual can take as well (including urging your representatives to support climate legislation). Some of the organizations currently proposing adaptive strategies to confront climate change include:

  • 350.org: this is an international campaign working to build a movement around solutions to the climate crisis. Their mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge and create a new sense of urgency about the climate crisis. The focus is on the number 350–as in parts per million CO2- and reducing CO2 emissions to levels below 350ppm.
  • Cleveland Carbon Fund: this is the first community based, open access carbon reduction fund in the United States and a great resource on carbon reduction projects in Northeast Ohio.
  • Earth Day Coalition: this is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate citizens on environmental issues.
  • GreenCityBlueLake: this organization offers information on all sustainability initiatives in Northeast Ohio and has a blog that is updated frequently.
  • Policy Matters Ohio: the local partner for the Apollo Alliance, Policy Matters offers a bold national campaign to make our country energy-independent within a decade. From renewable energy investments alone, Ohio could gain more than 22,000 jobs!
  • Powershift 2011: Powershift is a mass movement of youth leaders and their allies who are concerned about climate change and want a clean energy future. Every two years (2007, 2009, 2011) they organize at a major conference in Washington, DC, and bring back skills and strategies to their communities and campuses. Register for this year’s conference at www.powershift2011.org.

GreenCityBlueLake has created a list of 10 things YOU can do to reduce your climate impact, save money in the long run, and improve your quality of life:

  1. Calculate your Carbon Footprint
    Find out how to calculate your carbon footprint. Understanding your carbon emissions is the first step to taking action to reduce your carbon footprint.
  2. Change a Light Bulb (or two)
    Electricity consumption is one of the largest components of a household’s carbon footprint. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last 10 times as long.
  3. Drive Less
    In the United States, a personal motor vehicle is the largest contributor to a typical household’s carbon footprint. Combining trips, carpooling, using public transportation, walking and biking all help reduce your carbon footprint. Keep up with scheduled maintenance and properly inflate tires to make your existing vehicle as efficient as possible when you do drive. The next time you replace your vehicle, consider purchasing the most fuel-efficient model that meets your needs.
  4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    Recycling materials requires less energy and fewer raw materials than creating a new product from scratch. Take reusable cloth bags to the store, don’t accept paper and plastic bags when you really don’t need them, and choose products that don’t have excessive packaging.
  5. Use Less Water
    Pumping and heating water require large amounts of energy. Take shorter showers, install a low-flow shower head, turn the water off while you shave or brush your teeth, and wash clothes in cold water.
  6. Plant a Tree
    Deforestation accounts for up to 20 percent of the carbon dioxide released each year worldwide. Growing trees sequester carbon, and trees also help cool cities and reduce power consumption for air conditioning.
  7. Eat Lower on the Food Chain
    Adopt a diet that emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables and minimizes meat, seafood and processed foods. Meat is a particular energy hog. Producing one pound of beef generates 36 pounds of carbon dioxide.
  8. Buy Efficient Appliances
    Replacing older appliances with Energy Star appliances can significantly reduce your electricity bill and your carbon footprint. Start with the refrigerator, which uses the most electricity in an average home.
  9. Adjust your Thermostat
    Set your thermostat two degrees higher in the summer and two degrees lower in winter to save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Change your furnace filter regularly and seal gaps around windows and doors to allow your heating and cooling systems to operate more efficiently.
    Note: These are estimates. Individual savings will vary based on many factors.
  10. Spread the Word
    Tell a friend about what you are doing to make a difference. Join the community conversation on www.gcbl.org/climatechange.

The online environmental news magazine Grist also offers a visual guide:  What can one person do when 6.8 billion people are frying the planet?

Another informative guide is The Story of Cap & Trade, a fast-paced, fact-filled online film that looks at the leading climate solution discussed at Copenhagen and on Capitol Hill (cap and trade). The host Annie Leonard (from The Story of Stuff) introduces the energy traders and Wall Street financiers at the heart of this scheme and reveals the “devils in the details” in current cap and trade proposals: free permits to big polluters, fake offsets and distraction from what’s really required to tackle the climate crisis.

More Climate Change Links:

Local Resources:

Climate Change and Energy:

Climate Change and the Great Lakes:

Climate Change and Human Health:

General Information about Climate Change:

News Articles about Climate Change:

Groups Working to Educate about Climate Change:

More on What You Can Do to Combat Climate Change:

Your Carbon Footprint: