Your individual contribution is vital to addressing climate change, whether it's in the community or at the national and global level. From educating your peers to joining a community group to reducing driving and energy use, there are many things you can do today that will help the Sacramento region, California, and the U.S. respond to climate change.
Understand the basics of climate science, global warming, and its impacts. Here are several great resources to get started.
Global Climate Change
2014 National Climate Assessment
Understand Climate Change
Climate Change Science
Indicators of Climate Change
Research says Americans are more likely to listen to people they know when it comes to climate change. Talking to friends, family, neighbors, and peers in your religious community or neighborhood groups will help raise public concern and awareness about this critical issue. Here are some resources to help you get started:
This excellent guide will help everyone be more effective in engaging on climate change. The guide covers 10 principles for effective communications and practical tips that will help overcome 7 key mental barriers that undermine our ability to understand and prioritize climate change. Download the guide.
This program conducts research on public climate change knowledge, attitudes, policy preferences, and behavior. The program uses the results to help engage the public on climate change solutions. Learn more.
Climate change action isn’t just regulating greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also about improving our public transit systems, sidewalks, and bike lanes, and building smart, sustainable communities that support the health and wellbeing for all our residents. Let your policymakers know that you’re concerned about climate change to support climate action at local as well as state and national levels.
How many tons of greenhouse gas emissions do you emit in a year? The average American is responsible for 17.6 metric tons of GHG emissions every year, compared to a global average of six metric tons, eight to nine metric tons for industrialized OECD countries like Germany, the UK, and Japan, and just five metric tons for France and Sweden.
You can calculate your carbon footprint at www.CoolCalifornia.org, which will also provide you with strategies and tips to reduce your carbon emissions. Here are some other ways you can make a difference:
Choose green electricity: SMUD’s Greenergy program will source your electricity from renewable generation for a small cost. The SolarShares program will source your electricity from local solar generation.
PACE your home: This innovative financing mechanism allows homeowners to install rooftop solar panels and make energy efficiency upgrades to their home at no upfront cost. The loans are repaid over time through the property tax – which means you pass it on when you sell the home.
Set your thermostat: Program your thermostat to reduce cooling/heating when you’re not at home. Set your thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer and help save electricity at critical times. At night, open your windows (and turn off the A/C) to take advantage of Sacramento’s natural fan – the Delta Breeze. During the winter, set the thermostat a few degrees lower and wear a sweater.
Choose green light: Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs. Turn off lights when not in use.
Stop energy vampires: An energy vampire is an appliance that uses a lot of electricity when not in use. Cable boxes, game consoles, plasma TVs, and desktop computers are all surprisingly big energy vampires. Turn off appliances when they’re not in use. A power strip can help you switch on and off multiple appliances conveniently, while smart power strips make it even easier through auto-sensing technology.
Choose Energy Star: When you’re ready to buy a new appliance, look for the Energy Star label to find the most energy-efficient models. However, it’s best not to replace appliances before the end of their usable lifetime as the raw materials, manufacturing, and transport of any appliance all come with a considerable amount of GHG emissions and other environmental impacts
Reduce food waste: Did you know that over a third of the nation’s total food production is thrown away, or that food waste is a major source of methane emissions – a powerful greenhouse gas – when it decays in a landfill? Plan your shopping and cooking to help reduce food waste.
Consider Meatless Mondays: Eating less meat can be not only healthy, but meat production, especially of beef and lamb, has a high carbon footprint. Consider starting with one meatless day a week, or replace some beef with pork or chicken, for a climate-friendly diet.
Trees are enormously beneficial to a community: they clean up the air, provide shade for homes and people outdoors, filter stormwater, and improve neighborhood scenery and safety. Trees also store carbon emissions throughout their lifecycle. Even with the drought, it’s important to keep watering our trees and planting more.