Climate Steps taken in 2017

An amazing year, an incredible year, an interesting year – as in the Chinese curse in terms of my workload.  It has been wonderful, however, starting up the Climate Steps blog and Facebook group, which are now officially one year and four days old.  The Facebook group Climate Steps has turned out pretty cool, and is growing faster than the blog. We’re at 561 people, which tickles my farmer dad, who thinks that’s a lot of people on social media.  And yes, it makes me smile a bit too – I think the concept has been proven, now on to broadening the reach.

Definitely, the reach needs to be a whole lot broader to help build that perfect storm towards fighting climate change.  The interesting thing is that for the past year, Climate Steps has been the only FB group out there I could find that focuses on providing actionable items for individuals to do to fight climate change.  Don’t get me wrong – there are many great websites and FB groups out there, but they tend to focus on different things, either the latest news (Climate Daily News; Renewable Energy & Sustainability & Climate Change), local action (e.g., Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, the growing Green Neighbors movement: Green Neighbors DC and Clark County Green Neighbors) what’s happening with cities, countries, and industry (Climate Action (closed group); Yale Climate Connections; Climate Science, Mitigation, and Adaptation (closed FB group)); explaining climate science (Katherine Hayhoe’s site/videos), or our personal responses to it (Climate  Change: It’s Personal (closed group)).  Citizens Climate Lobby definitely helps people connect to direct political action.  So many other climate groups and blogs share the woeful, horrible news – and occasional good news  – of what is happening environmentally and politically.  These sites do often call people to action, but usually to protest to or call their Congressmen – but that puts the responsibility on other people, who you have to wait on to take action.

Side note:  Frankly, most politicians are digging in their heels and not listening.  (It’s been found that most Congressmen listen to industry and donors than voters.  Article.)   So those actions really haven’t made a huge difference in this weird political climate – except for two things: 1) helping grow support for the bipartisan Climate Caucus in Congress – which hasn’t done much yet; and 2) saving graduate students from having to pay income tax on tuition support, which is cool.

But there are actions that us as individuals can and should take personally, politically, and socially.  First, conservation in its variety of forms is the actually the first action that can immediately reduce C02 output (link to story coming).   But writing comments on government regulations also has a large impact in that it allows lawsuits to be filed later.  Everything from green investing; supporting green industries; organizing and speaking at community meetings, creating community tool co-ops; and personal behaviors like biking, going straw free, etc.   We 561 people in the FB group have been sharing 2-3 actions a day, and often there is at least some discussion about them.  Most have been small and/or very personal, some are medium size, and a few have larger impacts socially.  Some cool ones have been:

  • Max’s vegan challenge for his birthday.
  • Via posts in CS, people added comments to regulations such as for the EPA.
  • Portia’s straw-free challenge for the month of September was fun – and hard.
  • Carrie’s sharing of an article about how men resist green behavior was the most read post in the last month (stats only go back one month).

Thank you to a great community!  I look forward very much to 2018, and in providing support to the growing group.

Now there’s another step for Climate Steps – I am now in the midst of summarizing our suggested actions/discussion results onto resource pages here in the blog.  Right now I am adding to the Travel page, and the Carbon Calculator Page.  Next is the Plastics Page, because we talked a lot about plastics this year.

Anyway, luckily more FB groups are forming that are calling people to action.  (REFs coming. Please let me know if you find others.)  Unfortunately, I am not up on Twitter, so I don’t know what’s happening there.

And what actions have I personally taken?  Check out the updates in blue I put on my 2017 New Year’s Climate Resolutions.  Some include that I have taken trains when I could have flown.  Given LED bulbs as gifts.  Okay, so I didn’t get all 21 done, but I did get 60% done – what I haven’t will move to 2018 Resolutions.  The ones I didn’t get done were a bit too big, so I’ll break them up into more feasible set of steps next time.

But I have also learned so much new stuff from Climate Steps, it’s been wonderful.  I did the straw-free challenge for a month, and now am moving on to a year straw-free, something I had never really thought of before.  I have been inspired to go vegan now once a week, on top of my vegetarianism.   But also, it has provided a sense of community, and has made me totally feel like a climate warrior.  Join us!

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