Exciting advancements are happening right now when it comes to tackling the climate crisis. Global action continues to move forward with the Paris Climate Accord, as the US re-enters this agreement with a renewed focus on climate justice. California continues to push climate progress with legislation like SB467, which would ban the most dangerous types of oil drilling and fracking and introduce health and safety setbacks across the state. And right here in Southern California, the City of LA is finalizing plans to achieve 100% Clean Energy by 2035. But in each of these cases, the question remains: Are we doing enough?
While we are excited about the progress that is being made globally and locally, we can still step back and question if our goals are robust enough to actually achieve climate resiliency and justice, if decision makers are doing what is necessary to achieve those goals, and if big industries (oil, gas, plastics, etc.) are being held accountable.
Worldwide, we are spewing 152 million tons of human-made global warming pollution like CO2 into the thin shell of our atmosphere every day, causing average temperatures to rise and throwing natural processes off track.
CO2 levels passed 420 parts per million (PPM) for the first time in April 2021. This unfortunate milestone means we’re halfway toward doubling pre-industrial CO2 levels. And, we are rapidly approaching the 1.5°C climate tipping point that makes it more difficult to sustain healthy natural systems. If we continue “business as usual” we are on a fast-track to double our CO2 levels by 2060, and the world will be 3°C warmer on average, which would mean significant food shortages, more intense droughts and wildfires, and more frequent deadly urban heat waves.
Oceans have helped to buffer this steady pollution stream by absorbing ¼ of our CO2 emissions, but this has wreaked havoc on our marine ecosystems with sea temperature rise and ocean acidification.
Tackling the climate crisis is a massive undertaking and all these questions are difficult to know how to ask, let alone answer, which may leave many of us with climate anxiety, wondering what one single person can do.
But the truth is that we are not alone. Together, our actions can make huge waves. Whether you are starting with small changes at home, or playing your part in critical systemic change by signing petitions or calling political representatives, your actions play an essential role in this transformative time!
Take the Climate Challenge
As we continue our struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of life in general, it is a privilege to have the time, energy, and financial resources to make environmentally conscious choices and take action against climate change. Yet for many communities the decision to take climate action now or later can mean the difference between life and death.
So let’s do our best to get creative and be intentional with our actions and resources. Whether you have money, time, creativity, passion, or something else entirely your own, we all have a unique contribution to make in the fight against climate change.
Start by picking one action you can take today.
Don’t stop there! Consider the skills, experiences, and resources you have to offer and create a personal list of climate actions. And because Every Day is Earth Day, take this list with you throughout the year, and do what you can when you can with what you have.
Here are some ideas to choose from to get you started with your personalized climate challenge…
Where We Live
- Pick up trash around your neighborhood
- Ditch single-use plastic and switch to reusables at home
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle our waste – yes the order matters!
- Remove any hardscape or lawn on your property and replace it with a vegetable garden or drought tolerant native vegetation
- Start or join a community garden
- Sign up for Green Power or install solar panels
- Reduce your energy needs
- Turn off lights, unplug unused electronics, and swap out old lights with LEDs (once the bulbs burn out)
- Bring in a professional to insulate your home, or find simple swaps around the house like adding thick curtains around your windows
- Set your thermostat for maximum energy (and cost) savings, or regulate temperature without a thermostat by opening/closing windows and using those thick curtains
- Wash clothes in cold water, and hang dry rather than using the dryer
- Decrease your water usage
- Take shorter showers
- Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes
- Audit your household water footprint
How We Commute
- Telecommute if it is an option
- Choose public transportation
- Walk or skateboard for shorter distances
- Ride a bicycle
- Support projects that improve access to alternative and active transportation
- If you must drive
- Invest in a hybrid or electric vehicle
- Use car sharing services with electric vehicles
- Make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape for optimal efficiency (secure gas cap, inflate tires, etc.)
What We Eat
- Consider a plant-based diet
- Start by eating one vegan meal each day
- Eat lower on the food chain
- Reduce food waste
- Eat your leftovers
- “Vote” with your wallet to support regenerative agriculture or community supported agriculture.
- Compost at home or sign up for composting services
- Support sustainable seafood
- Patron environmentally friendly restaurants and businesses
What We Learn
- Educate yourself, your family, friends, and community
- Watch Heal the Bay’s Climate Reality Knowledge Drop
- Check out The Nature Conservancy’s Carbon Footprint Calculator to understand your carbon footprint
- Put climate change books in little libraries around your neighborhood
- Start a Heal the Bay club at school
- Follow climate change activists on social media
- Listen to scientists and keep tabs on their latest research
- Empower students and the next generation with tools
- Request a Speaker’s Bureau climate talk for your school or organization
- Sign up for a Suits on the Sand climate event for your business or group
How We Vote
- Vote in local, statewide and national elections!
- Support just and equitable environmental policies in support of:
- Climate resiliency
- A tax on carbon
- The end of fossil fuels
- Regenerative agriculture
- Renewable energy
- A reduction in plastic waste
- Be an advocate
- Attend and give public comments at local Agency, City Council, or County Board of Supervisor meetings
- Send a letter to your representatives so they know climate action is important to you
- Participate in public demonstrations and rallies
- Sign petitions
- Create climate inspired art and share it with the world
- Join existing efforts by Heal the Bay and partner groups to demand climate action now
- Get involved with STAND-L.A. to Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling
- Take action to support SB467 with VISION
- Demand climate justice for LA
- Sign and share petitions to shut down local gas facilities:
- Advocate for the restoration of Ballona Wetlands
- Join Friends of the LA River and comment on the LA River Master Plan
- Join Reusable LA and fight plastic pollution
- Sign and share the #SkipTheStuff petition to get take out cutlery only upon request
- Become a member of OurWaterLA in support of smart water
- Volunteer with Heal the Bay
Questions about any of these possible actions? Contact Annelisa Moe here at Heal the Bay for more information or support in your advocacy work!