Adapted from the Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network, Drawdown.org, and Local 20/20
1. Recognize that your individual actions to conserve will have little impact on climate change and the most important changes need to be at the systemic level, because our laws, politics, and markets have brought us to the situation we’re all in. We need to change the system, and you have a role in changing the system. (See the last item below!)
2. Recognizing the above, it is also true that virtually everyone in developed countries causes too much greenhouse-gas pollution, and there are ways you can better “walk your talk” (while you’re working on changing the system!).
3. Calculate your carbon footprint to see where you stand in relation to a sustainable human society:
- Berkeley’s “Cool Climate” Calculator—takes about an hour
- Carbon Footprint Ltd.—buy offsets after you calculate your footprint
- Create a plan to halve your household footprint while saving money, within 10 years (or less).
4. In the kitchen:
- Eat local.
- Eat mostly plants.
- Avoid food waste.
5. On the road:
- Drive less (walk, bike, bus, carpool).
- Buy or lease a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) to replace one ICE (internal combustion engine) car (~10% reduction).
6. In the air:
Cut your air travel in half (1% to 20% or more).
7. At home:
- Upgrade your house envelope (better insulation, doors, windows; ~3-10%).
- Add smart devices to reduce energy consumption (~10% emission reduction immediately for an average household).
- Install an electric heat pump and a heat-pump water heater (~5-10%).
- Install solar panels or buy green electricity (~10%).
8. In the community:
- Organize a community solarization project.
- Volunteer to help calculate the carbon footprint for others.
- Support renewable energy programs with all local agencies.
9. Using your voice!
Join Olympic Climate Action, Local 20/20 or other local activist group meetings to work with others to reduce not only your own, but also our society’s carbon footprint!