Earth Day: What our members are doing about global warming (Day 2)

Park ranger talking with boys in the North Cascades National Park. Photo by Parrish, Courtesy REI.

In preparation for Earth Day, we asked our WildAlert subscribers what they do on an individual basis to combat climate change. We heard all kinds of great ideas from simple everyday efforts to major undertakings. As April 22 approaches, we’d like to share a sampling of those stories and tips. Check out today’s installation and come back tomorrow for more. We’ll be running new tips every day until Earth Day arrives.

You can also check out our own staff’s tips for combating global warming here.

My wife and I opted to pay more for our electricity, so we get all of our power from wind. Our house is now carbon neutral.
-Thomas, Madison, Wisconsin

On Earth Day, facilities staff at our Lathrop Retirement Community in Easthampton, MA will conduct a "Mobile Tire Pressure Clinic" to visit, check and adjust tire pressures for optimum mileage in each resident's car.
- Alfred, East Hampton, Mass.

Planting and caring for tons of trees all over the Los Angeles County area with TreePeople! Go to their website to sign up to help plant and care for some trees! http://www.treepeople.org
- Mark, Los Angeles, California.

I use the sun to dry my clothes. We recycle the water from the wash to water plants. I just set up 2 wine casks to catch rainwater from the downspout off my roof. You'd be surprised how fast they fill. I try to reuse as much as possible. I reuse plastic bags to collect dog poo, paper bags for garbage-using a plastic package (from pasta) at the bottom of the bag to prevent leaks. I reuse dog food bags as trash bags. I reuse plastic from veggies for covering things in the fridge. I reuse bread bags to carry lunch. Reusable grocery bags when I go shopping. We put in a water filter to eliminate the plastic bottles. Water taste's great now. I combine car trips. I try to walk or bike when possible. I replaced all the lights with compact fluorescent and try to buy local organic in the summer. I close up the house to keep the cool in. we don't have a/c, so this really helps.
- Katie, Oak View, California

Driving a Toyota Yaris (40 mpg). Using cloth bags for groceries. Planting Wildflowers and Florida Natives so I water less. Replaced all light bulbs with energy savers and candles. Eating less meat and buying locally grown veggies.
- Lyn, Deland, Florida

As chair of the Green Sanctuary Committee at UUCSR in Manhasset we are selling Fair Trade coffee, tea, and chocolate, showing films, like " Hot Planet, Cold Comfort" April 22, and "King Corn," April 22. Our minister will be preaching on the topic of ethical eating on 4/26 at 11 a.m. This is all part of the year long programs we run to green our congregation and the surrounding community.
- Elaine, Hicksville, New York

Write letters to the editor to raise awareness about global warming and renewable energy. Had energy and technical audits done to identify energy leakage, and retrofitted my home (air sealing and insulation). Applied for the Boulder County ClimateSmart loan to have solar panels installed. Front yard is being converted to a low-water, permaculture landscape. Plan to remove the backyard lawn and build raised garden beds and possibly a greenhouse. I helped form Transition Longmont — a group that focuses on solutions to climate change, peak oil, and economic instability (local agriculture, etc.). Am a grad student in Environmental Leadership. Am an avid recycler, promote zero-waste, and have a compost bin in my backyard. Use skicarpool.com to rideshare when traveling to the mountains. Ride the bus to the airport and to Denver. Buy wind energy shares from my local utility. Use a solar cooker in the summer to bake meals. Carpool as much as possible. Remain aware of my impact on the environment.
- Teresa, Longmont, Colo.

I live in an apartment, so some things are out of my control, but I do the following. I have changed all my light bulbs to CFS. I made my management replace my air conditioner with a new energy efficient one. I usually only run the A/C on pollution alert days. I turn my thermostat off for all but the coldest days of the winter. I recycle everything I can and work with a new grassroots group in my community that is trying to get all apartment complexes access to easier recycling. I try to buy local food and in general have cut way down on my meat consumption. This summer I am planning to have flowers on my balcony to help honey bees.
- Kathleen, Broadview Heights, Ohio

I don't eat animals or any of their by-products because the United Nations has concluded that raising animals for food causes more global warming pollution than all the cars, planes, ships, trains, and SUVs in the world combined. Also, I attend any climate change protest I can.
- Jessica, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Ellie and I built ourselves an earth sheltered home, earth bermed on three sides and with three feet of earth on the roof. It is an all-electric home, and uses no fossil fuels at all. Next, we are installing an array of photo voltaic cells to generate electricity, with any excess going back into the grid — making coal fired plants just that much less necessary. We are waiting impatiently for one of the American car companies to make an all-electric car, which we can plug in every night. Then we will let the wind power our car. Further, we grow vegetables but do not have a lawn because lawns typically cause chemicals to be dumped into our drinking water. We are taking the lead in developing a housing co-op of 200 townhouses, plus offices and other work spaces, all earth sheltered, with its own generation of electricity, here in central Michigan's lower peninsula.
- Joel, Blanchard, Mich.

Baby steps for sure, but the first one for me has been awareness. You can't be committed to anything unless you understand it. Working in the county of a small Texas town and researching re-cycling options (relative to my new position), a world of awareness has begun to unfold itself for me. Landfill information led to state programs for environmental control and protection...which led to a plethora of ideas, as simple as changing to energy efficient lightbulbs, to re-mulching leaves, catching rainwater in barrels — all easy...to this point. But then, my searching led me to harder material: information about how even our food choices ultimately impact our environment. For instances how our (my) insatiable desire for beef fuels, if you will, unethical cattle raising practices which result in emissions that have a major impact on global warming. I can't change the world — or our appetites "in toto," but perhaps if I cut red meat out of "my" own personal diet, if I influence just one more person to do so as well ...then I've been a part of the solution, no matter how minuscule it may be. So…here I am, in my home with the ceiling fan taking the edge off the warm days (instead of the a/c at full throttle), the lamps lit by the energy efficient bulbs, planning an evening meal full of vegetables, fruits, salad, wine ...exchanging my memory of steak on the grill with the determined "intention" of doing the right thing every chance I get.
- Cynthis, Waxahachie, Texas

My roof is covered with solar panels, my garage houses a Prius,s oon to be plug-in. I charge all batteries in my Eurovan with a West marine 100 watt solar panel. This helps with fuel consumption,(no alternator load). No Campground power needed. I've sent away for a Microbial fuel cell to power my camper from our sewage tank. Very enthusiastic about this UMass/Amherst development. Mrs. Barnett and I are with you all the way to make our footprints smaller on the world.
- Roy Barnett, Camarillo, California

By micro managing my daily world, my important focus is what I can do as one person to contribute to a better world. I recycle personal items, garden, drive a car that is easy to maintain and has great gas mileage. I ride my bike or walk to do errands as much as I possibly can. I live a simple life, keep my heat down and lights off. I have a water filter, buy local fruits and vegetables from local farmers in the summer, have a small garden and educate myself on local environmental and political issues. I believe each of us can make a positive difference and insure a better world for generations to come by educating ourselves on climate change.
- Cynthia, Eagle, Colorado

To use a phrase that is often stated, but frequently less than enthusiastically followed through with: "Think globally while acting locally". We are retrofitting our farm to reduce our carbon footprint by enhancing our home design to be as much passive solar as possible. We have installed 1.8KV of grid tied photovoltaic electricity generation; are adding insulation to the perimeter of the in-floor heat slabs to improve efficiency of operation, upgrading the heat source to a high efficiency boiler to replace the current 65% efficient one; have had a solar hot water and wind energy site analysis done which indicate a good potential for both. In addition, we drive a 2002 Honda Insight with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that has delivered 53.5 mpg average for 96,000 mile to date. Finally, I have discovered and just finished reading the book "The Transition Handbook, From oil dependency to local resilience" by Rob Hopkins the founder of the Transition movement. This handbook shows how we can move from feeling anxiety and fear in the face of civilisational collapse threatened by the twin crises of "climate change" and "peak oil" to a positive vision of our future, with steps of practical action to create a more self-reliant existence for all during the "power down transition" that currently seems inevitable. We can choose to design and create a power down scenario that can produce a better existence in harmony with nature and the earth, or we will be forced to it by the earth and nature herself.The earth does not need us and will continue with or without us. We cannot exist without the earth. The choice is ours.
- Jim, Glenwood City, Wisconsin

Read more community tips here.

photos:
Park ranger talking with boys in the North Cascades National Park. Photo by Damon Parrish, Courtesy REI.
Hybrid car. Photo by sillygwailo, Flickr.
Solar panels on home. Photo by mjmonty, Flickr.

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