By Erin Twamley
Mother Earth has a fever, and our home is at stake.
We hear this message day after day. In response, we do what we can to live better: we use efficient light bulbs; we recycle; we carry around reusable mugs. And we worry about the future. We worry that our actions are not enough.
Many of us want to address climate change more directly. But one of the challenges is conveying to our communities that sense of urgency expressed in the blog post, “Why Should You Care About Community,” by Tamara Toles O’Laughlin.
Don’t get me wrong, the climate agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference was #onegiantleap forward. A staggering 97% of the world’s carbon polluters signed the agreement and the Green Climate Fund will support the pledge by investing nearly 100 billion dollars toward drastic greenhouse gas reductions by 2030. But climate data from February 2016 show there are still enormous leaps to be made.
So what else can you do? Let this be your invitation to #takecharge and consider your role in creating a better planet. Because, as the Earth Day Network encourages, a billion individual acts of green can add up to a powerful change.
Here are 10 tips that you can use to encourage your community join the climate change movement:
Use stories about local innovation to start a positive climate change conversation.
Do you know where the “Greenest School in the World” is located? In Washington DC! In 2015, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded this distinction to Dunbar High School for their use of renewable energy sources like solar, water conservation systems and geothermal to power the school.
Pro-tip: Learn which businesses, housing communities and restaurants are addressing climate change. Find out and share what local schools are doing – everyone loves to have conversations about youth and the future.
Capture Images of #ActOnClimate.
In addition to sharing snaps of your travel adventures, foodie pics and funny shots with your friends, you can use Instagram to send a message about the Earth, the environment or that picturesque day. Photos send a quick and powerful message.
Pro-tip: Use the hashtag #MotherEarth on Instagram.
Read other perspectives.
Climate change impacts communities around the world. But how it impacts yours is unique. Read articles, blogs and first-hand accounts of how people are being impacted today. Learn more about the predictions of climate change impacts from Norway to China. The consequences vary around the world, but we are a global community.
Join the movement online.
Join the global conversation! Use social media channels such as Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook to share blogs, articles, facts and stories with your network. Information can spread far and wide online.
Be A Climate Mentor.
Help engage youth to act on climate change. You can connect with a young family member, neighbor or a friend’s kid. Try to come up with ways to save energy, then do an electronics check together. Make sure to explain how our energy use impacts the planet, and make sure to keep your messages positive.
Pro-tip: head outside to enjoy the fresh air together instead of plugging in.
Many people would love to learn about climate in a unique way. Are you a poet or a budding videographer? Use your talent to talk about climate change.
Pro-tip: The quickest way to go viral is with a video. For example, this poem from a science educator is taking off right now!
Cut Your Waste.
How much we consume and what we consume makes a big difference. Did you know that over 10,000,000 clothing items end up in landfills each year? Cheap clothing is not sustainable. Give your clothes additional life by donating or regifting them to friends and siblings!
Pro-tip: Go the extra mile; check out a fellow EcoWomen blogger’s tips for reducing food waste.
Have you checked with your electricity provider to see if renewable energy is available? Most people are surprised to learn that in most cases, wind and solar can be distributed to your home from your local utility company. The first step in switching to renewable is finding out how to make the change.
Pro-tip: DC and Maryland residents have options!
Act Local – Write!
From the mayor to the city council, we can hold elected officials accountable. In 2015, Washington DC was recognized to be the home to more LEED and ENERGY STAR-certified buildings per capita than any other city in the country. Make known your support for green power in DC.
Pro-tip: reaching elected officials is easier than ever with email and Twitter!
Find your Lumens!
Instead of looking for “Watts,” determine your desired light bulb brightness by “Lumens.” It is a new way to help consumers determine the right amount of light for each place in the home. Learn the new vocabulary and change your light bulb shopping habit. Watch this video to learn more.
Note: This article is an adaptation of an original post for children by Erin Twamley, originally published by Nomad Press and STEM Magazine //187V .
Erin Twamley is an energy educator, author and English Kindergarten teacher in Seoul, South Korea. Her books with co-author Joshua Sneideman, Climate Change: Discover How It Impacts Spaceship Earth and Renewable Energy: Discover the Fuel of the Future? aim to positively engage youth in learning about renewable energy and addressing climate change.